Even though our co-op continues to thrive and sales figures are up every month, people still remind us quite often that they believe we are high-priced and out of reach. The implication sometimes is that we are trying to price gouge. Sometimes it’s difficult not to react defensively to this oft quoted accusation. But in all honesty, it’s true that many products we carry ARE more expensive than at other stores. But rarely is the complete picture ever considered when shoppers make such comparisons. The most popular comparison is between our store and Meijer. While this debate deserves a thorough discussion, which we will do in future posts, today we are simply highlighting the many opportunities to be a smart shopper at Oryana and save lots of money on everyday items!
Every week, the produce department has 4 items on sale. This week for example, Swiss chard, pink lady apples, garnet yams, and pink grapefruit are on sale. Savings on produce sale items are typically at least 50¢ per item or pound but can be as much as $1 or more. Also, our Everyday Value program includes the following produce items, which are ALWAYS priced below the standard margin: organic red delicious apples, organic bananas, 5 lb bags organic russet potatoes, 3 lb bags organic yellow onions, and 5 lb bags of organic carrots.
As the season warms up, we will be carrying more and more local produce from our farmers. Sometimes people complain because we charge more than what the farmers charge at the farmers market. These people forget that since we are a store and have retail store overhead expenses like labor, utilities, taxes, business loan payments, etc. etc., we must charge a little more in order to stay in business. What we provide is the convenience of one-stop shopping where you can get many of the same local items here while you are doing your other shopping, saving you time and gas money. But of course, shopping at the farmers market is an experience in itself and a valuable one at that because you meet your farmers face to face. Naturally, buying directly from a farmer is cheaper since there is no middle-man (Oryana, Meijer).
2. Bulk Department
The bulk department has monthly specials you can take advantage of when your favorite products are featured. The sales are typically 15% off and sometimes more. See a list of this month’s bulk specials. With over 550 bulk products available in this department and the beauty of using less packaging, purchasing in bulk is a great way to save money.
If you’re not familiar with our Co+op Deals Program, be sure to pick up a flyer the next time you shop. There are new grocery specials every 2 weeks and customers enjoy great savings with this program.
Our Everyday Value Program is something else we do to make good food accessible to as many people as possible, especially during these hard economic times. With the Everyday Value Program, we’ve chosen dozens of staple items throughout the store and priced them at less than our standard margin and pass on the savings to you. Doing this kind of thing is a big part of who we are and our commitment to supporting our local community. For example, Farmer’s Henhouse eggs are always priced at $2.49/dozen, compared to $4 to $6 dollars for local and/or other organic brands of eggs. Other inexpensively priced EDV products include olive oil, orange juice, pasta, Kashi cereal, diapers, milk, peanut butter, salad dressing, and many more. To find these products, just look for the Everyday Value shelf tag.
Another terrific way to save on your grocery bill is to be on the lookout for Field Day products. Field Day products, offered through our distributor, United Natural Foods, is a mostly certified organic, in-house brand, featured at a Reduced Price. Field Day is only available at independent natural food stores and is an excellent, lower priced, high-quality alternative to current brands. (Think Spartan brand) For example, a can of Field Day organic black beans is just $1.29 vs. a can of Westbrae organic black beans at $2.29 a can. Just look for the sunny logo on the labels.
And finally, with our Price Aware Program, we regularly check out our competitors’ pricing (Tom’s, Glens, Oleson’s, Meijer) on popular items and keep our prices in line with theirs.
4. Wellness Department
The Wellness department has monthly specials on at least 4 items where you will find significant savings. And coming soon, The Everyday Value Program will be extended to include Wellness products. We will keep you posted on this.
As you can see, product pricing is something we are extremely aware of and work hard to address on a regular basis. That being said, however, we want people to know that we factor in a lot of variables. Questions like: Is the farmer getting a fair deal? Are we adding in enough of a profit margin to ensure that the Co-op can thrive into the future? Do we choose the higher quality product that may cost more because we know it’s a healthier choice for you? The answer to all of these questions is of course, yes. Therefore we want to emphasize Everyday Value as opposed to price because of everything that goes into the equation. We don’t want to put something on the shelves just because it’s “cheap.” We put it on our shelves because we believe it offers real value to your lives.