I’m guilty of staying current on the news while on vacation this week and as a CreekSide Co-Op board member, I am very worried about this week’s news and its local impact on us, the member-owners of our co-op. I’m worried that we might sit back and cheer some lower prices at Whole Foods, change our buying patterns just enough, such that CreekSide Co-op can no longer survive.
What can we do? We can continue to be intentional about using our food dollars as investment funds, being intentional about investing locally in businesses that sustain the local economy. Let me make the argument as to why we should do this.
Like many of you, I saw the announcement by mega-company Amazon that effective Monday August 28th when it closes its purchase of Whole Foods (aka whole paycheck), it would immediately lower some prices. On my Facebook feed (yours too?), a dear friend who is incredibly socially conscious and thoughtful, linked to the story that noted that Amazon Prime would be the new Whole Foods frequent shopper program with a dramatic “Score!” In Friday’s Wall St. Journal I read: “Stocks for six large food retailers, including Kroger Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., lost around $12 billion in value after the announcement.” Score indeed.
Winners and losers. Amazon wins and who loses? Fact: Amazon is spending nearly $14 billion on Whole Foods and any company spending $$ for an acquisition expects that to result in increased sales and profits. If Amazon’s track record is any indicator it will do to Whole Foods and the food marketplace what it has already done to so many segments of our economy. It will use data and algorithms in powerful ways to dominate online and offline sales, charging different prices to different customers while driving local businesses under. In the short-term, this means lower prices for consumers. Score! In the mid-term, it could mean higher prices and market control as this $457.54 billion dollar company (4th largest in US company market cap) and its owner, Jeff Bezos, the 3rd wealthiest American, uses its muscle to grow relentlessly and increase its profits. Who do you trust to do what is best for our community: Jeff Bezos or your community members striving to make CreekSide all it can be as the center of our thriving community?
This morning, this evening and many times this week, we will each make a choice as to how to invest our food dollars. We all have to make our household budgets work and we look for the lowest price. I ask that you remember where that leads: The lowest price comes from mega-companies that dominate their markets and have no local interest beyond the influence of their Community Relations Department. They grow larger and then can control what choices we have and then it is too late. Make your choice today: Shop CreekSide First and invest in where you live, work and thrive.
CreekSide Board Vice President