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2018 Summer Update from Dan Esko, General Manager August 4th, 2018
by Daniel Esko, General Manager

It’s hard to believe that summer is already in full swing here in the Berkshires. And wow…what a hot one it has been! Though I am not complaining, some rain would be a welcome sight for us all. Despite the lack of rain, the season has brought with it an impressive bounty of local produce.

Woven Roots carrots are all the rage, MX Morningstar’s rocking the beets and I can’t wait for the some local ginger zing from Et Cetera Farm. Strawberry season has come and gone by now but has made way for tomatoes, corn and stone fruit (my personal favorite). At home my gardens are in full bloom, the chickens are doing quite well and with much excitement we welcomed the newest addition to the Esko family – Barley, a handsome lion’s head bunny. The kids absolutely adore him (and I’m pretty fond of him as well)!

As you can see when you visit the Co-op, construction of the new store is well underway. These past few months saw the completion of site excavation and pouring of the foundation and footings for the new building. Next, you will see the steel shell of the building go up, making way for the construction of the walls and roof. Once completed, the floor of the new store will be poured and then we will be ready to start fitting out and furnishing the store. We anticipate opening in late January 2019—only 6 months away!

While construction is happening, we understand that the temporary parking situation can be a challenge and we are doing everything we can to make it better. As promised, we made some improvements to the walk up to the store and paved our temporary parking lot. We will continue to explore other ways to make the temporary parking more manageable for everyone. We are always available to carry out your groceries or you can use one of our handy yellow wagons to more easily get your groceries out to your car. If you have any other suggestions or special needs, please just let us know and we will do our best to accomodate you.

I’ve said this before and I will say it again, now more than ever it is critical that the community support the Co-op (even if that means going out of your way to do so). Thank you so much for your patience during all of this change and of course for your support through it all.

And now for a little bit of housekeeping that is worth revisiting. I just want to kindly remind everyone to please be a good parking samaritan. That means parking in designated areas and only parking in the handicapped spaces in front of the store if you have the proper credentials. It is simply not fair to other customers who really need these spaces. Again, we know it’s a challenge but we thank you for following the rules and making the Co-op a safe and welcoming place for everyone to shop.

Meanwhile, the Co-op team is working hard to better meet your needs and prepare our operations for expansion. We are trying to balance the day to day needs of running the store with a concerted effort to overhaul our systems and processes. We are investing in staff training and development with an eye towards providing the best service in town.

In the craziness of it all, I admit it’s easy to forget what we are actually working toward and why the Co-op is serving this community. Quite simply, the Co-op provides real food to the community, does real good in the community, and grows the cooperative economy. Further, we operate the store with a deep commitment to balancing fair prices to customers and producers, and fair wages to staff.

It’s really all about creating positive impact and contributing to a happier and healthier community. By expanding, we will be able to grow that impact. We will be better positioned to raise wages and create jobs, to keep prices fair for all, to purchase more goods and services from local producers and suppliers, and to bring more real good food to more people in the community.

At the heart of it, Berkshire Co-op Market uses the business vehicle of a grocery store to achieve a social and environmental mission. That’s pretty cool when you stop and think about it for a moment. And what’s even cooler is that we own this business together! I firmly believe (and the numbers back this up), that investing in a cooperative business is one of the single greatest ways we as individuals can affect positive change in the world.

If you haven’t considered becoming an owner of the Co-op, feel free to come talk to us about it anytime. We’re here and happy to help.

Be well and I’ll see you at the store!