Shared Knowledge is key to our cooperative difference. It means consumers and workers understand Weaver Street Market’s vision and the plans for achieving it and provide ongoing input that improves the plan. It also means they recognize cooperatives as the preferred business model. We’re excited to report this year on three important ways in which we’re building shared knowledge among co-op owners.
Co-op Celebration showcases our co-op partners
In February we held a three-week event celebrating our partner co-ops. The event featured special promotions on co-op-produced products, product samplings, and fun activities. We also celebrated the difference a co-op makes in a community and promoted these advantages of buying from co-ops:
- We get great quality because co-op farmers and artisans are invested in their work.
- We get competitive prices by buying directly from co-ops because we bypass outside distributors.
- We ensure that farmers and workers are paid fairly and have a growing market for their products.
- We expand the co-op business model in the United States and around the world by partnering with other co-ops.
Weaver Street Market (WSM) has great relationships with many co-op producers. Altogether, we purchased over $1 million from co-ops in the last year, and we introduced several new co-op products, including the popular Riojana wines, which averaged $4,500 in weekly sales.
Our Celebrating Co-ops magazine features the stories of five of our partners. Their stories are inspiring because of the challenges they overcame, and the impact they have had on their communities and the world.
New owners receive welcome package with weekly e-coupons
New owners are a vital asset for WSM. They contribute equity through the purchase of shares ranging from $75 to $175. In 2016, 1,280 new owners joined the co-op, contributing more than $115,000 in owner equity. New owners who become regular shoppers play an important role in achieving our goals for sales growth. It’s important that our new owners know about our products and also feel like part of the co-op community. This spring we piloted an e-coupon welcome package to help new owners shop at the co-op and make connections with the Weaver Street Market community.
Each week for eight weeks, new owners receive an email with an e-coupon that introduces them to a product or product area, provides related information, such as shopping hints, and features fun activities. The e-coupons are worth more than $75 (the price of an individual share). More than 700 new owners are participating in the e-coupon program. The most popular e-coupons are WSM signature products—a WSM canvas bag, a WSM t-shirt, and a free loaf of WSM bread. Our staff love the photos owners send in, wearing their WSM T-shirts in places all over the world.
WSM’s blogs keep owners up-to-date and informed
Another way we regularly provide new information and updates to owners and shoppers is through our blogs, which are located in the NEWS section of our website. We make five to seven new blog posts each week. Our blogs focus on four areas of interest to owners and shoppers:
• Community: Stories about our food campaigns and community food partnership, what’s happening with our co-op partners, and community events relevant to our owners.
• Favorite Recipes: Weekly recipes and cooking tips from our demo team, producers, and staff, featuring seasonal and local ingredients as well as sale items.
• From the Board: Announcements and updates for owners about Board-related topics, such as reports on owner feedback, invitations to meetings and events, updates or new work being undertaken, and elections.
• Hand Selected Products: Posts featuring our producers’ stories, introducing new local products, and telling the stories behind our house-made products. Occasionally we have posts about product recalls and decisions to not carry products.
Soon owners will be able to sign up for notification of new posts. In the meantime, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, where we frequently link to blog posts with community-wide interest.