National Co-op Advantage Program Set To Launch

In March 2002, hundreds of thousands of co-op consumers will receive a full-color flyer filled with dozens of product specials negotiated through the national expansion of CAP, the Co-op Advantage Program. CAP is a branded product promotional program originally developed in the Midwest and Twin Cities and now being utilized by most National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA) member stores.

The front page of CAP flyers printed all around the country will be identical, featuring several products that were negotiated against national volume commitments. The inside pages will be filled with products negotiated regionally and coordinated by one of the three CAP Coordinators responsible for this effort.

Meet the team

David Butterfield is our National CAP Coordinator, bringing his expertise from the development of the original Midwest program to the oversight of the national effort. David's hard work in the past two years has earned the CAP program a reputation within the industry, which has made the implementation of the program in these other regions much easier. David will continue as Midwest Coordinator along with his national oversight.

CAPWEST (a joint effort between the Northwest Cooperative Grocers Association and the Pacific CGA) recently hired Rick Sheller to launch CAP on the West Coast. Rick brings 20 years of sales experience in the natural products industry, including work with Mountain Peoples Warehouse and Associated Cooperatives in the Bay Area.

CGANE (Cooperative Grocers Association -- Northeast) has hired Bini Reilly as regional CAP coordinator. Bini has worked with co-ops for many years and most recently was a broker with SGN.

Joan Guettler is the CAP Administrator for both the Midwest and the national element of the program. This is no small task, as Joan handles all of the many hours of gathering information and art from the manufacturers, as well as all the order processing and bookkeeping functions of the program.

Thanks to the Midwest

The Twin Cities Natural Foods Co-ops and the Midwest CGA pioneered this program just a few years ago. Corinne Shindelar, now executive director of both these CGAs, put together an original program proposal with the help of several co-op managers and the support of Blooming Prairie. From its inception the CAP program has exceeded all expectations, and this is largely due to Corinne's guidance and enthusiasm. The elevation of the program to a national level is possible due to her leadership.

The Midwest stores who took the risks in launching this program and funding its development should also be thanked. These stores contributed more than $155,000 to the development of CAP and were willing to take the risks and make the operational changes necessary to make the program a success. Staff at all levels in these stores worked hard to make CAP what is today, and they should all be congratulated.

Spreading the success

CAP activity is a perfect example of the vision six CGAs shared when forming NCGA. So many good ideas and programs are developed regionally. NCGA serves as a mechanism to bring these proven programs to the rest of our network, to avoid duplicative effort and share our resources. The speed with which this program has been expanded is indicative of how well we are evolving into a national network that is aware of and committed to opportunities to work together rather than go it alone.

NCGA has welcomed two new groups for 2002: the Pacific Cooperative Grocers Association (California) and the PCC retail chain. We welcome these two new members and look forward to their contributions and participation.

When consumers around the country pick up their Co-op Advantage fliers in their local food co-ops next March, they will experience the effects of our collaboration. Besides great promotional pricing on many popular products, they will get a taste of what we can accomplish when we press our collective clout. Our consumer owners deserve our best efforts to maximize our potential to provide service, and the national launch of CAP is proof positive that we can do it.

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