A Report to the Olympia Food Co-op Membership from the Financial Coordination Team

July – August 2020

We would like to start by acknowledging just how difficult this time has been. We are outraged by heinous acts of police brutality and the history of societal and systemic racism and oppression against Black People, Indigenous People, and People of Color in our own community and worldwide. We grieve for the tremendous uncertainty, stress, and financial and emotional struggles experienced by our houseless neighbors, unemployed workers, low income workers, essential workers, small business owners, non-profits, families and more.

The Olympia Food Co-op has also been on a rollercoaster throughout this crisis. In mid-March, we were lucky to have extra business from a huge rush of shoppers.

Then, the state shut everything down and we stayed open as an essential business and adapted our practices to maximize safety for our members and workers.

Since late March, we have incurred financial struggles. As we limit the number of shoppers in the store due to safety concerns, our sales have decreased. Sales are down an average of 5% at the East side Co-op and 9% at the West side Co-op. These numbers represent negative growth compared to 2019 sales. Our ever-popular salad bar was forced to shut down, contributing to the decline in sales.

At the same time, our labor expenses have increased as we created new jobs such as Sanitizers, Door Monitors, and Order Pickers for our Online Order for Pick-up service. Also, our expense for supplies doubled as we continue to decimate our cleaning and sanitizing products and masks, gloves. We are currently losing an average of $3,000 per day as we maintain operations.

We are examining all the ways we can increase sales and reduce labor costs. Luckily, we procured a Federal Payroll Protection Program forgivable loan which will help us keep our doors open for a while.

We report this to you for two reasons:

  • You are the member/owners of the Olympia Food Co-op and have every right to know the financial realities of the operations in your stores.
  • We want to encourage you to remember all the Co-op has brought to our community over the last 43 years. Our support of local farmers and producers. Our commitment to organic and high-quality foods. Our mission that inspires us to work for social and economic justice. Our ongoing experiment with Collective management and a vibrant Working Member program. Our levity, our stumbles, our bumbles, and humbles.

There are so many movements, people, businesses, and organizations that need our support. Please support them all as you can. And please remember to also support your Olympia Food Co-op by shopping for as many of your purchases and essentialities as possible.

If you are apprehensive about long lines and/or safety, know that we are doing as much as we can to maximize customer limits without compromising safety or social distancing. And if you want us to shop for you, our Online Order for Pick-up service is available at the Eastside Store! You can find this service at https://olympiafood.coop/contact-us/order-for-pickup/

If you have any questions, comments, concerns, or ideas, please contact us at customerservice@olympiafood.coop

We look forward to continuing our support of our community.

Thank you.

The Olympia Food Co-op Finance Coordination Team
Tina, Kitty, Corey, Jenn, Max, Jill, Mo, Grace, and Harry