by Jill Lieseke, Staff Member
First quarter ending on March 31 brought so many changes to our Co-op and our world. These are challenging times; the impact being felt the world over. Similar to other years, our 1 st Q financial numbers were looking fairly strong. Then the pandemic happened, in which we had a record-breaking spike in sales in the middle of March. We would like you to know how much we appreciate our community for supporting the Co-op during these times and for your patience and understanding through all the changes we have been making to keep providing food in a safe comfortable atmosphere.
This is your Co-op! By shopping at the Olympia Food Co-op and supporting other local businesses, YOU are all helping to keep the local economy strong during these uncertain times. Financial transparency is an important way for us to show our members the Co-op’s place in the local economy. Below is a simple review of how the Co-op is performing financially.
After the spike in sales in mid-March, came the stay at home order and customer limits in the stores; sales dropped to well below last year’s levels. When comparing to last year’s sales on a weekly basis, West is under -11.92% and EAST is under -3.75%. Through April and May sales have remained fairly steady at that level. However, when comparing the overall sales called Year to Date sales (YTD) to last year’s overall or YTD sales, West shows a growth of 1.33% (budgeted 1.62%) and East is showing 3.03% growth (budgeted 2.78%).
As you can imagine our supplies expense line has doubled with the all the extra sanitizers, gloves, masks, Plexiglass covers, hand washing stations, etc., needed to keep ourselves and our members safe. As well, our payroll expense has increased by 20% in the last six weeks, due to all the extra work needed to plan, create and launch new procedures from online ordering to limited shoppers. This is ongoing constant work needed to evolve with the state mandated rules.
The Deli kitchen expansion project has been completed and the Deli crew is really excited to start providing our community, once again, with healthy pre-made food on our salad bar. However, we are not sure when the salad bar will be able to re-open. In the meantime, look for ‘made in house’ Deli salads and sandwiches in to-go containers. We have been fortunate enough to obtain help from the Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program, which has helped us to cover the Payroll cost for more than 56 days. There are still many unknowns about repayment of this program’s money however we expect to have most, if not all, of this “loan” forgiven.
There are still so many uncertainties, from what will be the future store hours, the continuance of online ordering, the salad bar, the number of people in the store, etc. As well, we cannot project how long our current food system be sustainable, as we are
seeing many out of stocks due to manufacturing companies being closed or not running at full capacity. We are very lucky to be living in a community that values and offers somany amazing local food growers and producers.
The Olympia Food Coop is committed to be the community hub where people can get good food in a safe environment. We will continue to follow the guidelines and rules set forth by our local governments and we will strive to continue our economic stability.
We appreciate your patience with the long lines and the many changes to your shopping experience. As YOU, our members, supporting our local co-op are the reason we are able to continue our financial endurance through these uncertain times.