First of all, we thank you wholeheartedly for being loyal members of the Co-op as we all face the difficulties and impacts of the current pandemic. Whether you are able to come shop in our stores or use our Order for Pickup System, we really appreciate your continued support and understanding. We know it can be frustrating when we are experiencing disruptions in the supply chain that impact our ability to provide certain much-needed products.
As we have changed hours and procedures with little notice, your flexibility is recognized and appreciated; and as we move forward, we will strive to improve numerous programs and procedures designed to support the safety of our operations and the community we serve.
We want to say a special thank you to the members who have been making masks for staff and volunteers working in the stores. Your thoughtful efforts mean so much to us. We also want to give special recognition to two local restaurants, Vic’s Pizza and Miso, for generously bringing food to be shared by staff and in-store working members. In times like these it is amazing to be remembered by and reminded that we are part of an incredible community that shows up again and again in kindness and consideration. Thank you all so much.
We are pleased to announce that the Co-op applied for and received a loan through the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) administered by the Small Business Administration and our local bank. The PPP was designed to provide funding so that small businesses can continue to keep their workers on the payroll rather than forcing them into lay-offs and other reductions in force.
The Co-op has a very generous benefits package that includes multiple policies that support family and medical leave. The combination of school closures and the health threats implicit for folks with various medical or age-related needs leads to us paying our workers not only for working but also for staying home caring for their own health and the health of their families. The increased labor costs in a time of reduced sales related to the need for folks to Stay Home/Stay Healthy led us to be concerned about the financial health of the organization. We are grateful that we were able to take advantage of PPP at this time.
We know of so many small/local businesses, for whom this program was designed, that have been unable to access this much needed revenue. We encourage you all to support our local small business community and our local economy by shopping locally whenever possible; many of these businesses are using on-line and/or call-in ordering with curbside pick-up and/or home delivery to ‘keep their doors open’ during this difficult period.
The Board is particularly appreciative of the extraordinary effort that has been put forth by our staff. A staff task force was quickly organized to deal with the operational challenges that this pandemic has caused. Many staff have worked many overtime hours and all have had to deal with the multiple challenges that COVID-19 has presented us with. All this happened rapidly and the Board is grateful for the resilience, adaptability, and capacity of our staff.
Thanks again for supporting the Olympia Food Co-op.
The Olympia Food Co-op Board of Directors