CGIN News: More Resources Added to

Thanks to generous contributions submitted by members of the Cooperative Grocers' Information Network (CGIN), we've been able to add the following new items to our site in the past couple of months:

  • mystery shopper survey form
  • employee policy handbook, sample personnel forms, and sample staff newsletter
  • the fifth article in a series by Barth Anderson of the Wedge Co-op about getting organic certification for a store or store department
  • a consumer information brochure about waste reduction
  • guidelines for staff in handling shoplifters
  • and about a dozen new timely newsletter articles

Additionally, we've added two new exhibits to our photo gallery. The first is of co-op T-shirt designs, based on a request at our 2001 annual meeting. The second is an exhibit of displays and signage being used by stores that are part of the national CAP (Co-op Advantage Program) initiative. Both of these are interactive exhibits, made up of photos sent in by members. Let me know if you would like to contribute photos (JPG format, filed at 72 dpi, please); we welcome more photos to add to these two exhibits.

Perhaps even bigger news is that we now have a copy of our new manual called How to Start a Food Co-op on our site. The manual provides a basic overview of what a co-op is and how to start a food co-op, with many links to other online resources. It also includes eight case studies on groups that have started or are in the process of starting a new food co-op. We hope that it will serve as a valuable resource to new and existing co-ops and give CGIN members the opportunity to provide helpful information to support co-op development.

Hard copy versions of this manual are also available from Cooperative Grocer; see Special Publications.

CGIN received grant funding for this project and would like to thank our funders:

  • Howard Bowers Fund
  • The Cooperative Foundation
  • Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation
  • Cooperative Grocer Magazine

CGIN's listserve continues to be a lively discussion forum for co-op managers, staff, directors, and members. Messages have recently helped co-ops with advice or information about:

  • how to deal with problem members and "grazing" of bulk foods
  • experience with credit card terminals
  • addressing cashier safety concerns
  • travel recommendations for getting to Eureka (CA) for CCMA
  • board compensation
  • sources for organic kalamata olives
  • member discounts and patronage refunds
  • resources providing more information about hemp foods
  • in-store peanut butter grinders
  • preparing for a new Trader Joe's store in your market
  • re-usable bulk bags
  • member loan administration issues
  • and the proposal to Frontier members about changes to its structure

Speaking of our listserve, we conducted a short survey of CGIN members about it, as part of our membership renewal process this winter. We were very pleased to get feedback back from 66% of our retail and associate members through this process.

The first question we asked was about how the listserve currently operates -- specifically, having it be open to anyone and "unmoderated." 65% of the respondents indicated that they'd prefer to have us stick with this approach, while 26% thought we ought to consider closing the list to members only or have it be moderated (i.e., messages would have to be approved by someone before being posted); the remaining 9% were undecided.

The second question was about having replies automatically go to the whole list, rather than just to the individual who sent the message. In response, 78% of our members prefer this approach, 15% would rather have replies go only to the sender, and 7% were hoping to have it both ways (sorry!).

Most encouraging was that all but one respondent said that they're basically satisfied with the listserve; many acknowledged the tremendous resource that it provides and the help they've received from the questions and discussions on the listserve. Members offered many useful suggestions, some of which we're able to implement and some of which we, unfortunately, can't. But we very much appreciate the feedback, many encouraging comments, and valuable suggestions.

For any readers who aren't yet subscribed to our listserve, please feel free to join us. You can find instructions on how to subscribe at: <

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