The Nor’easter that hit town last week dealt a catastrophic blow to the Co-op. The store not only had to close, all of the perishable food had to be thrown away after sitting for 22 hours without power. Now the store is open with many empty shelves as we anticipate the next storm due in tomorrow.
Mike Litka, our GM, orchestrated the response to the disastrous storm in a masterful way, mobilizing the staff to clean out and clean up the store so that it is ready to safely serve the community again.
Our first concern is always safety. So to everyone who has questioned why the perishables couldn’t have been donated or sold at “fire sale” prices, it was not worth risking anyone’s health with a possibly unsafe product. I personally helped toss the meats & cheeses. It was heartbreaking to see what appeared to be “perfectly good” food go in the trash- until we opened a package of chicken that clearly had gone bad.
The Co-op is insured against this kind of loss, both for the products and the business interruption. We don’t yet know the exact amount of the loss or the reimbursement amount, though we think that we are adequately covered. Needless to say, how quickly the damages are paid will matter.
Many have asked why the Co-op doesn’t have a generator to prevent such losses. Besides not having the money to buy or lease one or the space to house it, it is a calculated risk that most grocery stores take. Since this store opened in 2004, there has not been one instance where a generator was needed. Wegman’s is the only large chain that has generators “built in.”
The silver lining has been the community response. Shoppers have come to help clean and restock and buy whatever is on the shelves. For the next few days, products will be delivered and the staff will need help getting it on the shelves. However, reorders will be limited until after the next storm hits Wednesday & Thursday. Check in to Instagram, Twitter & Facebook for store hours and times when you can come help. Of course you can just show up too.
Special thanks to the 5 people who joined the Co-op yesterday!! Now more than ever we need the support of our Owners. There have been calls on social media for fund raising for the Co-op. It already exists. It’s the Equity Campaign and the need is greater than ever for owners to participate. By increasing your equity, owners provide an important source of working capital which we especially need now to help us recover from the storm(s). And of course, SHOP the CO-OP FIRST!
My last thought is how impressive the staff of the store is. They worked so hard to get the store ship shape and remained so positive in the face of what had to have been especially devastating for them. We are so lucky to have such a great crew!
Now is the time to show your support for the Co-op in every way you can.
Pam Bartholomew, Board President