Keeping You Safe: Touch-Free Shopping

A Letter from the Co-op General Manager

To Our Community,

As we all know, COVID-19 is far from over, and there is no telling what lies ahead for all of us this fall. This afternoon I shared with our employees a review of some of the many benefits and extensive means of help available to them, as well as travel guidelines for those planning well-deserved vacations. Many members and shoppers have also reached out to me and asked me how they can support Co-op employees. My advice is this:

Tell our employees how much you appreciate them being there, taking care of us and serving our communities. We all need to hear that from time to time.

In addition, please continue to wear a mask and to practice our social-distancing guidelines. Keeping our employees safe, and helping them keep you safe, is the best thing we all can do.

With safety in mind, I have a brief review for you: Since the spring, I have been sharing regular updates with our members about the Co-op’s new online ordering and curbside pickup program, Groceries-2-Go. Over the past few months the program has grown rapidly but measuredly, expanding its range and serving more members in more locations. As of today, we now have more than 7,000 products online, a significant increase in a short amount of time, representing all major departments. Member requests have played a significant role in determining the products we offer, an approach met with consistent positive feedback and loyalty.

The program as a whole was a rapid response to requests from members. An interdisciplinary team of Co-op employees worked together to make it a reality. It is a great way to shop, particularly during the COVID-19 era, as it ensures touch-free shopping. Getting started is easy and all the details are online. If you have not used it yet, give it a try and let us know what you think.

In closing, I want you to know than in addition to all of the other challenges posed by the pandemic, our teams continue to work in a very challenging employment environment. As I have written about before, even pre-pandemic, our area already had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. Now across the country, many people who are out of work find it more lucrative to take advantage of government benefits than to apply for jobs.

Our teams are working together on creative hiring and recruiting efforts to fill our open positions and to train our new employees in time for the busy holiday season. That said, this is only one part of the equation. The other important element is finding flexible, innovative ways to work with the resources we have. New plans are in the works, based on a forward-thinking, but ultimately simple idea: many employees can cover more than one department, particularly if we look at how busy each department is throughout the week and staff accordingly.

We will be experimenting with this in the weeks ahead in order to deliver a great customer experience to you.

Wrap Up

As always, my thanks to our members and shoppers for the ongoing support. Remember to be kind to one another and to yourselves. As always, we look forward to serving you in our stores and at the curbside.

Onward and upward,

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Paul Guidone

Paul Guidone

Paul Guidone, CFA, spent the better part of four decades in the investment management business here and abroad. He held positions ranging from analyst through Deputy Chairman and Group CEO, at organizations such as Citigroup (US) and The HSBC Group (London and Hong Kong). He joined the Co-op in 2016 as the CFO and in 2018 became Strategic Advisor to the General Manager. Paul was appointed General Manager by the Co-op Board in September 2020. To contact, email PGuidone@coopfoodstore.com.
Paul Guidone

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