The other day, I had a conversation with an employee about the White River Junction store. The employee lives a few miles from the store, and his family shops there two or three days per week.
What he described was everything food shopping should be. Staff at the store know the family by name. The cashiers joke with the children and remember their birthdays. The employees at the meat counter suggest tips and recipes because they know the family’s preferences. And in every aisle, the employee said, his family stops to talk with a neighbor.
In short, the store is more than a store. It’s a neighborhood hub—a close-knit community within a close-knit community. What he told me reminded me of a recent anecdote I heard on public radio. When your supermarket is a social experience, you’d better shop for your frozen foods last. If you don’t, your ice cream will melt before you leave the store!
Our competitors are making big investments into high-tech grocery shopping. Technology is good, and we invest in it for the benefit of our members and shoppers, too. But our Co-op is more than just a trip to the store and a click, grab, and go. Food is a social experience. It always has been. It should bring people together. And at our Co-op, it does.
My thanks to all of our members for building a business based on food, trust, and community. Got ideas how we can do it better? Reach out to me anytime. My door is always open.