As we all begin to reconnect in our post-pandemic world, we are frequently asked how it’s going. The answer to this question for the co-op is complex. Our sales are incredibly strong, our finances are looking great. We are doing our best to keep the store looking full and inviting. The reality for many of us is that we are dealing with the stress of the pandemic. Whether we personally are feeling it or the people we are close to, stress and anxiety are high. Many employees have or are reducing their hours to give space to process and support themselves and the people in their lives. As an organization that values people, being flexible with people’s schedules is important.
The other reality is that we, too, are feeling the crunch of a tight labor market. Finding new hires is taking longer than usual. People are also taking much-needed vacations. Please be patient with us as some days we are short-staffed.
We are also seeing disruptions in our supply chains still. This, mixed with higher than anticipated sales and a change in distributors, has left more bare spots on our shelves than we would like to see.
There are many things that are going great and that we are excited about. It’s so nice to have the cafe seating area open again and have folks up there enjoying the space and each other’s company! We are also happy to expand our cold drink selection by adding a new cooler (that we got for free from Hunger Mtn. Co-op!) We are looking forward to continued participation in the Everybody Eats meal program, which has been extended. We continue to find new products to bring to you. Some current staff favorites are the Clean sparkling mate drinks and Ithaca hummus. If you haven’t tried them, we highly recommend doing so.
Another exciting development is our grant to promote local products. The first change you’ll notice from this grant are labels throughout the store that clearly shows which products are locally grown or made.
So, how’s it going? Being alive right now is complicated, but we are mostly doing really great!
Emily Hershberger, General Manager
p.s. We are also feeling the effects of the tight housing market. There are a couple of co-op employees who are looking for places to live. Please let us know if you have any leads on housing.