By Zetty Nemlowill/Marketing Director
Published in the Co-op’s Winter 2015 Newsletter
Results of a recent survey we offered you are shaping the Co-op’s strategic plan. There were several ways we gathered community input, but the shopper survey in October, was the farthest reaching. We heard from advisors (National Cooperative Grocers) that based on our size we’d need about 300 responses to be statistically robust. Guess how many responses we received from you? 760! For those who took the time to complete the survey, thank you.
How did we achieve such a high level of response? I think first and foremost, we have a very engaged community. There was obviously a lot of interest from Co-op owners and shoppers in helping shape the Co-op’s present and future. We got the word out regarding the survey via emails, Facebook, newsletter, in-store signs, newspaper, and radio shows. There were many questions, but the big one was regarding expansion, and whether Co-op shoppers would align themselves with the Co-op board and management’s vision which includes a bigger space within the next five years. We heard a resounding “yes”.
85% of respondents support growing the Co-op, 13% neutral and less than 2% opposed. One concern cited was the Co-op re-locating too far away from its existing footprint. But rest assured, the survey also told us that if the Co-op were to expand, most people would prefer it to happen in Astoria.
The most important aspects of a possible expansion listed in the survey results include a greater variety of products, new or expanded services in the store (such as a deli, meat counter, bakery etc.), selling more local and/or organic foods, increasing the Co-op’s purchasing power (which could result in lower prices), and expanding the number of living wage jobs.
While an expansion would probably be months to years in the making, the survey results are really helpful for the work we do now, to know where your priorities lie. For example, the top social issues survey-takers thought the Co-op should champion are as follows: supporting local agriculture, providing nutrition education, promoting recycling, and addressing local hunger problems. We can keep this feedback in mind when planning outreach activities.
Overall, it is good to see we are doing a good job of meeting our shopper’s needs. Nearly everyone said they’d recommend Astoria Co-op Grocery to a friend. We are so grateful for all the feedback which will help us improve our cooperatively owned local food store.