By Robert Walker, Retail Operations Manager
This piece was originally published in our “Fresh Bites” Holiday 2020 Owner Newsletter.
As many of us begin searching our closets for our favorite jacket, sweater or scarf, we’re also looking forward to the warmth of the holiday season. The holidays not only allow us to create special memories with our friends and family, but offer us the opportunity to reflect on the challenges we’ve faced throughout the year, as we optimistically set our sights on an exciting new year.
As we look back on this year, we all can say that we’ve faced significant challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It has required all of us to make drastic changes to our way of life, changes that we never imagined we would need to make at this time last year. Many of our new year’s plans for 2020 may not have just changed, but had to be eliminated altogether. As a business, Good Foods Co-op has endured the same dilemmas, requiring us to adjust our business practices as well as our business plan for 2020.
Even still, I’m extremely proud to say that you and our staff were always at the forefront of every decision we made. Even though we found ourselves in the midst of a global crisis, we remained committed to our core principles of concern for community and access to healthy food for all. In fact, these principles became even more paramount in our day-to-day operations and continued to drive us as we strove to serve you safely throughout the pandemic. Our principles are not just mere words on a wall to elicit happy thoughts of what could be, but serve as reminders of why we do what we do, ensuring those thoughts are turned into meaningful actions that demonstrate who we are.
So sit back, relax and let’s take a moment to look back at a few of the challenges Good Foods Co-op faced this year and how those challenges inspired us to become an even stronger business model:
1. Upon hearing how the pandemic affected the elderly population and those with immune deficiencies, we stood by our commitment of healthy food for all and were one of the first stores in Lexington to create a senior hour for shopping, making sure those at the highest risk amongst us still had access to healthy food. This decision was made with the understanding that we would stand to lose sales, but we felt it was something we had to do to provide a safe environment for our high-risk shoppers. What business does that? Your Co-op did that.
2. Even with offering a senior hour, we understood that many still didn’t feel comfortable coming inside a store at all. Taking that to heart, the management team sat down and developed a process so that owners could order their groceries online and pick them up curbside without leaving the comfort of their car. We took what was a long-term goal in our five-year plan and brought it to fruition in a matter of days, ensuring access to healthy food for all. What business is capable of doing that? Your Co-op did that.
3. When the fear of the pandemic set in and people began to panic buy, we could see the toll it was taking on our staff. We decided to close the store in the middle of the day, not only to clean the store to ensure everyone’s safety but to give our staff a much-needed break. What business decides to lose an hour of sales during an incredibly busy time to ensure their staff’s well-being? Your Co-op did that.
4. Your Co-op was one of the first businesses to offer free PPE to both staff and customers and continues to do so. Additionally, Good Foods staff, both full-time and part-time, were given paid time off to ensure they wouldn’t incur a financial hardship if they needed to take time off due to the pandemic. What business does that? Your Co-op did that.
These are just a few monumental steps Good Foods Co-op took in facing unprecedented challenges this year, demonstrating an unyielding commitment to our community.
As autumn is the comforting bridge from the extreme heat of summer and the shivering cold of winter, Good Foods Co-op will remain here for you, our community, to be the bridge to a healthier you. So as you grab that favorite jacket, sweater or scarf, don’t forget to grab your Good Foods shopping bag or coffee mug and feel proud that you’re the owner of a business that puts its community’s well-being first. What business does that? Your Co-op does that and that’s why we believe we are “The Best Store in Town”!