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Re: SG-W:/ Shopping for the Earth



I'll add one point to Doug's reply.  The Shopping for the Earth program
offers the stores, including the People's Food Co-op, one other benefit.  It
increases buyer loyalty.  For example, I've traditionally shopped for
groceries at Kroger because it was nearby, but I bought some items that
Kroger carried from other stores.  When we started the Shopping for the
Earth program, however, I shifted many of those purchases to Kroger --
yielding a net benefit for the Huron Valley Group, and for Kroger.  I'm sure
that the Co-op will benefit from the same effect.

-----Original Message-----
From: Anne Heise <aheise@orchard.wccnet.org>
To: smartgrowth-washtenaw <smartgrowth-washtenaw@great-lakes.net>
Date: Tuesday, November 23, 1999 3:53 PM
Subject: Re: SG-W:/ Shopping for the Earth


>Tim, my reply below.  Doug
>
>>Tim wrote:
>>
>> I purchased a few hundred dollars of the certificates, and used them
>> all at the Co-op.
>>
>> I assume that the Co-op provides certificates at a discount because
>> they hope that the certificates will increase sales.
>>
>> However, I always buy my groceries at the Co-op.
>>
>> Thus, I came to see my participation in this program as merely
transfering
>> funds from the Co-op to the Sierra Club.  I don't think the Co-op is
>> any less worthy of funds than is the Sierra Club, so I lost my enthusiasm
>> for the program.
>>
>> Am I misinterpreting?  Does the Co-op perhaps get a tax break from
>> issuing the certificates, or something like that?
>>
>> tim athan
>
>Tim,
>
>You raise an interesting point.  While I cannot answer for the Co-op, I
>offer the following thoughts:
>
>- I'm a devoted 17+ year Co-op member.  If I thought they were imprudent
>in doing this program I wouldn't be involved. They are well aware they are
>selling certificates at a 5% discount. They haven't asked us to exclude
>regular Co-op shoppers from the program. I believe they think this program
>is in their interests, as they define them.
>
>- The Co-op has a long-standing commitment to "give back" to the community
>they do business in.  This is both a highly ethical stance and a smart
>business practice that increases customer loyalty. Until recently they
>pursued this part of their mission with a program where they offered the
>local Sierra Club group a percentage of their sales on a single day. Other
>groups had the same arrangement.  The Co-op discontinued this program, and
>began the certificate program last year in order to accomplish this aspect
>of their mission.
>
>- The Co-op receives two direct financial benefits from the certificate
>program, in addition to using it to meet their admirable community
>commitments.  First, we promote the Co-op every time we promote the
>certificate program. This kind of grassroots marketing is worth quite a
>bit. We no doubt shift some sales dollars from non-participating grocery
>stores to the Co-op, both directly and indirectly.  Second, we buy the
>certificates for cash from the Co-op.  Until they are actually used by
>customers, the Co-op benefits from "the float" (i.e., basically, a
>zero-interest loan) on these funds.  This prgram also stabilizes their
>cash-flow.  The local Sierra Club group must overcome this implicit cost
>to us by promptly selling enough of the certificates.
>
>I'd say that both the Peoples' Food Co-op and the Sierra Club's Huron
>Valley Group can gain substantial benefits from a vigorous cooperative
>program to market these certificates.  The Boards of both groups certainly
>think so, or we wouldn't have spent the time and money it takes to set up
>the arrangement and run it.
>
>Naturally, whether to participate or not is an individual judgement.  But
>as a devoted long-term member of both groups, with strong interests in
>seeing our community have a strong member-owned natural foods store *and*
>an environmental movement with resources that can be used to preserve open
>space, I think the certificate program is a wonderful win-win idea.  I
>feel better than ever about my tofu-and-sprouts lunch when it helps
>preserve the Co-op and local open space.  Not to mention my health.
>
>Doug
>
>
>
>
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