Growing Retail Resources

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CGIN continues to welcome new co-ops into membership. Since the first of the year, eleven retail co-ops have joined CGIN: Newark Natural Foods (Newark, DE), Olympia Food Co-op (Olympia, WA), Midtown Food Co-op (Memphis, TN), Venice-Ocean Park Food Co-op (Venice, CA), Boulder Co-op Market (Boulder, CO), Mountain People's Co-op (Morgantown, WV), Abundance Co-op Market (Rochester, NY), Monroe Street Grocery Co-op (Madison, WI), Amazing Grains (Grand Forks, ND), Rising Tide Natural Food Co-op (Damariscotta, ME), and River Valley Market Co-op (Northampton, MA).

This brings CGIN's total retail co-op membership to 107. If your co-op is not yet a CGIN member, please let me know if you would like to learn more about joining. If you're concerned that your co-op can't afford to join CGIN, contact me. CGIN members have generously contributed $650 to our scholarship fund this year. As a result, we continue to have funds to help defray part of the annual fee for small co-ops. We welcome all food co-ops, as well as others who are interested in joining.

Some of the new items added to our website for sharing among members in the past couple of months include:

  • customer service guidelines for specific staff positions
  • "five myths about retail organic certification"
  • more sample profit sharing plans for co-op staff
  • product line policies, including boycott policies and policies on GMOs
  • two sample business plans
  • more general manager job descriptions and sample contracts
  • a staff orientation to the board's ends policies
  • an outline for orientation of new board member
  • sample personnel change forms
  • a board calendar and meeting agenda using policy governance

Our continued thanks to CGIN's members who send in items to share.

In addition, we added another couple dozen recipes to our "deli recipe exchange." I'd like to encourage all CGIN members to consider contributing at least five deli recipes to the exchange by the end of the year. We heard an encouraging testimonial about the value of our deli recipe exchange from Stuart Reid of Seward Co-op (in Minneapolis) at our annual meeting this year. When Seward's previous deli manager left suddenly, taking all of the co-op's recipes, staff had a resource at the ready. They only had to go on the CGIN site and download enough recipes to help them through the transition. Thanks to all of the co-ops that have contributed recipes to our exchange thus far. Let me know if you can send in a few recipes between now and the end of the year so we can continue to develop this valuable resource.

CGIN's listserve continues to be a lively forum for "discussion" and exchange of views in our community. Anyone is welcome to subscribe to our listserve; instructions on how to subscribe can be found at For those of you who aren't yet subscribers or who want to research past messages, you can find an archive of past messages at Recent messages have discussed:

  • planning labor for the front end
  • sourcing produce from local farmers
  • issues related to employee directors
  • handling inactive memberships
  • role and accountability of board secretaries
  • member workers/volunteers and discount policies
  • POS systems
  • workers compensation insurance
  • sources for private label vitamins, canvas bags, smocks, etc.
  • the responsibilities and functioning of a board membership committee
  • sales trends and fundraising since the September 11 tragedies
  • team management and hierarchy
  • boycott and product policies
  • experiences with different refrigeration equipment suppliers.

For those of you looking for new staff, or for those of you who are interested in new challenges, we also maintain a current list of co-op job postings. We include all jobs advertised in Cooperative Grocer, as well as any others sent in directly. Note that we are happy to post announcements from any co-op or related organization; this is not a service limited to CGIN members. And, for those of you who can't get enough of such things, we have now posted abbreviated minutes from recent CGIN board and membership meetings on our site.

Finally, as 2001 draws to a close, I want to remind all current members that if you send me at least five documents for the website or at least 25 deli recipes, your co-op will be eligible for a $25 discount on your 2002 annual fee to CGIN. Contact me if you want to check your co-op's status in earning such a credit.

CGIN is a forum for you -- to connect with, learn from, and share your best ideas with your co-op colleagues. We hope you use it and continue to let us know how we can improve it to better meet your needs.

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