News & Events

UPDATE Keep Valley Co-op’s Doors Open! campaign

Posted on by Lena

(11/12/16)

Following our October General Membership Meeting, the Valley Co-op Board of Directors conducted an anonymous online survey and started a fundraising campaign. Thank you to the 411 households that responded  (49% were current members, 22% former members, and 29% never members), and thank you to those who already contributed funds (at the time of this writing, we’re at 24% of our goal!).

We’re still working on a detailed report of the survey results, to be shared next week. Responses were all over the spectrum. On one end were comments such as “I didn’t know you were there,” highlighting the need for us to conduct a professional marketing campaign. On the other end were comments such as “You rock. Please hang in there.”

Between the two extremes respondents provided sobering information about why people don’t shop more at Valley Co-op. Answers to the question, “What percentage of your groceries do you get through Valley co-op?” were low. Even among member households, the segment that shops the most, half reported that they get less than 10% of their groceries at our store. The average response among members was only 19%. Among former members, the average shopping cart was only 5%, and non-members, 2%.

Two of the biggest obstacles for shoppers are that our location is inconvenient, and prices are higher than they can find elsewhere. Other obstacles are still being analyzed, including the hundreds of suggestions received as an answer to “What products do you buy every week that Valley Co-op does not carry?” and in freeform comments to other survey questions.

Whether or not Valley Co-op might revert to being a buying club is not a question that the Board is now focusing on. That issue would be addressed should we need to cease operations as a brick and mortar store.

The ultimate message respondents and contributors to our campaign provided is that our mission matters to many in our community.

128 respondents (!) volunteered to pick up Valley Co-op brochures to distribute. Please pick up brochures at the store at your convenience. Note that, should we close our doors, we will refund pro-rated membership payments made after September 2016 to those members who request it.

18 respondents volunteered to make phone calls to follow up on the GoFundMe campaign.  We will get back to you after Thanksgiving, thank you!

We are thrilled that 29 respondents identified themselves as willing to be part of a Task Force working with the Board to keep our doors open. We really need you to help, as we’re short-handed. Please join us for a first meeting from 7-8 PM on Monday, November 11 at the Beaver Creek Church of the Brethren (20402 Beaver Creek Rd, Hagerstown). If you’d like to be part of the task force but cannot make this meeting, please contact us at info@valleycoop.org .

The survey results were just being tallied when the board received some unexpected news: the co-op’s lease of the National Pike building will not be renewed for a full year when it expires at the end of February 2017.  The owner of the building plans to expand his contracting business next door into the storefront the co-op has occupied since 2014.

“There may be a silver lining in this,” said Cori Rohrer, manager of the store. “A different location could make the store accessible to more people, and could let us offer a wider range of prepared, ready-to-eat foods, too.”

If you have a location you’d like us to consider for a Valley Co-op store, please contact us at info@valleycoop.org.

Visit http://valleycoop.org/keep-valley-coops-doors-open often to find a link to our GoFundMe fundraiser, as well as access to the survey results (forthcoming next week) and to news pertaining to what the community Task Force, Board and Operations are doing to keep our doors open.

Thank you for your enthusiasm and continued support! Please share our campaign widely.

 

Responses:

  1. Charles and Barbara Ross says:

    The fact that the store is losing it’s lease may well be a “silver lining”. As we both have noted many times, the location of the store is somewhat out of the way; and could be advertised and promoted much more effectively with a new location. Other changes are certainly needed as the survey suggests, and a new location could bring about more business and exposure to the Valley Co-op in the immediate future.

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