Oryana West: A letter from Steve, General Manager
Dear Oryana Owners and Shoppers,
I wanted to let you know about an important step your Co-op took today.
Many of you are aware that the Lucky’s Market grocery chain recently announced the closure of 32 of its 39 stores across the country. When announcements were made, we were happy to hear that the local store and employer would be among the seven staying open.
In the filing made by Lucky’s for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy we became aware of an opportunity to make a bid for the Traverse City site. After careful consideration and with the support of our Board and Leadership, Oryana filed a Letter of Intent to Bid with the US Bankruptcy Court in Delaware and, today was awarded the Traverse City location.
So, what does this mean?
This may seem like a strange time to embark on a second location, but we feel this decision is now even more essential. While we began working on this project back in January, we now see an even clearer need for strong local food systems and strong local workforces – and that is what we are in a position to provide. I, and the Board, thought very carefully about pursuing this course of action in light of the recent events, and felt this was the best decision for our Owners, our shoppers, and our community.
And you may ask, why?
Oryana has operated as a local member-owned co-op in Traverse City since 1973. We have grown from a few passionate visionaries starting operations on their back porch on 16th St. to a $16 million a year, 10,000 square foot store employing over 100 local workers. We have built this business, alongside all of our Owners, by committing to a quadruple bottom line: People, Planet, Purpose, and lastly Profit. As one of our shoppers, I hope you feel elements of this as you walk our aisles –
- Fresh, organic produce that provides as much health and nourishment for you as it does for our local farmland
- Staff who feel valued for the incredible work they do and are offered benefits and wages for sustainable living
- Unique items that are truly local, coming from within 100 miles of our doorstep and contributing nearly $3 million annually to our local economy
The addition of a second Oryana location would not only be an expansion of our footprint, but an expansion of the way we do business. It would be:
- An expansion of the amount of truly fresh, genuinely local produce that we can purchase from our farmers at a fair cost
- An expansion of our local, fairly-compensated workforce
- An expansion of a product selection that highlights fair trade, 100-mile local, and ecologically sound practice
- An expansion of a business model that puts you, our Owners, at the forefront of conservative, thoughtful, and sound local economic growth
I want to assure you that this decision was not entered into lightly. (You can read more about the process of our decision-making in the letter from our Board President, Jim Dagwell.) We are proud to have grown your business over the last 47 years through economic upheavals and countless competitors. I am confident that this is due to our sound cooperative economic model – which values our Owners and the viability of their business above all else. We take our commitment to you very seriously and we hold you all in mind as we make these decisions.
I also want to assure you that we plan to keep the Lucky’s location open for daily hours even through this transition as grocery services are essential to all of you, especially at this time.
At this moment, I can’t help but think back to our first visionaries and that front porch. They saw a strong future full of more good food. And so do we.
Yours in cooperation,
Oryana General Manager