The Healthy Alternative

As I am writing this article, I am very excited. Two nights ago, our Board of Directors and I were presented a Nine Mile Road concept site plan and store exterior design by our architect, Larry Adams. Larry of Bullock Tice and Associates has met with us on several occasions to brainstorm on design needs and ideas. The design concept he proposed was one that everyone agrees will work very well. It will take more work to finalize the concept, but with the Ever’man Board’s approval of the initial concept, we can move forward. This is very good news for our co-op. I think everyone will be very impressed when the final design is revealed.

In mid-February, we mailed the annual survey to all current co-op members. We received just over 700 completed surveys. The Board of Directors and store operations management team have begun compiling the results and reviewing them. In the next few issues of The Healthy Alternative we will share with you some of the most important points. We will be working to use the information you shared, to improve your experiences at our store and educational center. We are very proud of the positive feedback, but we do see areas that need our attention. We want you to value your membership and enjoy every shopping trip to Ever’man.

In reviewing the recent survey, the most common comment was concerning prices. We know the price of some of our products is higher than the price of the same conventional product. Those products will cost a little more, because they are far superior products to their conventional equivalents. We work very hard to secure the best prices. We negotiate the co-op’s cost of products in many different ways. The first and most impactful way is by being a founding member of the National Cooperative Grocers (NCG). This organization is a co-op of co-ops, which was started by and continues to be managed by its members. The NCG brings the buying power of 150 separate co-ops to the table when negotiating product costs. The NCG negotiates with our largest vendor “United Natural Foods Inc.” and many independent health and wellness suppliers. Without the NCG, Ever’man would have much less buying power with these companies.

In addition to being an NCG member, we negotiate many deals directly with smaller vendors and directly with brokers. Furthermore, we attend several food shows at which vendors offer products at a reduced cost. We, in turn, pass these savings on to our members and customers. A few examples of these savings are the recent deals on the pallets of coconut water, Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar, Wine and other large displays of products stacked near the service desk.

We also continually visit other local stores to compare prices. We are very competitive on most products, but know there will be items that the big box stores can purchase much cheaper. We will continue to work every angle we can to keep our prices as low as possible. Please also remember, we provide a lot of services that the other stores do not. We have more than 70 classes and support groups per month. We support a lot of local vendors and charitable organizations. We also provide a much better working environment for our staff. All values that you, as a member, tell us you want us to support.

In closing, I look forward to finishing the Nine Mile Road store design and starting the construction. Thanks for your continued support and patronage. I look forward to seeing you in the store soon.

-William Rolfs