Sunday, 02 November 2014 01:33
By Joe Romano,
Marketing Manager, and
the GreenStar Area Supervisors Team
Starting in January 2015, GreenStar will make a switch from our current U-Pick 10% Off program to a new Member Deals program. You likely won't believe the great prices, and we hope that your family, and our entire GreenStar community, will benefit from the savings. The new Member Deals program will take the place of U-Pick 10% Off as the latest in a long history of pricing plans that have been created to offer benefits to our member-owners while still welcoming non-members to shop.
At GreenStar's beginning, one had to be a member to shop at the Co-op, but in 1992 the decision was made that we should invite non-members as well. This created the need to price products so as to allow members to benefit from their membership. The first idea was a surcharge for non-members, but instead of our lower pricing being seen as a member-owner benefit, the surcharge was perceived as a penalty for non-members. So we changed our pricing practice to the one we still use today — we have one price on the shelves, and member-owners receive a member benefit discount at the register.
Over the years, we've developed new ways for our member-owners to benefit. In 2004, we joined a larger co-op sales program, now known as "Co+op Deals," then in 2008 added Managers' Specials (our in-house sales, advertised on the back page of GreenLeaf) and the Basics program. In 2010, we created the FLOWER program to provide those with limited income improved access to high-quality food and goods.
Sunday, 02 November 2014 01:22
By Brandon Kane,
Perseverance and collaboration are the hallmarks of the Collegetown Crossing project that will house GreenStar's third store, now set to open in 2016. The project, years in the planning stages, finally obtained site plan approval from the City of Ithaca in September.
The idea for the combined apartment and retail building to be located at 307 College Avenue germinated four years ago. At that time, the property owner, Josh Lower, approached GreenStar about his desire to build student housing in Collegetown that would improve the quality of life for students and other neighborhood residents alike. This proposal coincided with GreenStar's growth initiative focused on small and efficient co-op storefronts supported by centralized food production and administration.
After talking with Lower, GreenStar staff went to work on market studies of the area, feasibility studies, and all the other background research that needed to be done before presenting a proposal to Council and membership. In the spring of 2011, Council considered the Collegetown business plan and agreed to send the project to membership vote. In the fall of 2012, GreenStar members-owners voted in favor of this location, with 583 voting "Yes" and 237 voting "No."
The vote was specifically for a third co-op store to be established at 307 College Avenue. No specific timeline was cited for completion — and I'm so glad for this, as the project has been in development and revision since that fall 2012 approval, going before the City of Ithaca for review for the first time in March of 2013. At that time, the City's Board of Zoning appeals denied a needed variance related to City parking requirements for new development. This setback did not sway Lower from proceeding, however, and GreenStar enthusiastically kept pace with his desire to see this project come to fruition.
Monday, 01 September 2014 14:42
By Joe Romano,
GreenStar Natural Foods Market and the Agricultural Justice Project are proud to announce that GreenStar is the first supermarket in North America to receive Food Justice Certification! Three of the seven existing certified entities are from Ithaca: GreenStar, The Piggery, and West Haven Farm are all members of this important roster. Leah Cohen, Agricultural Justice Project (AJP) Program Director, confirms that both the stores and the farm meet the rigorous AJP standards for respectful treatment of store employees, living wages, safe working conditions, and commitment to continual improvement, and have earned the right to display the Food Justice Certified label.
A recent AJP press release calls GreenStar "one of NYS's outstanding retail stores" and "a pioneer in food justice, initiating an array of programs to provide access to high quality food for low-income people and to diversify staff." They go on to note that we are "committed to cooperative principles and to open book management by a team that makes decisions by consensus and welcomes the creative contributions of all staff members and owner-volunteers."
The release also quotes the author of this article: "GreenStar is thrilled to partner with the Agricultural Justice Program by receiving their Food Justice Certification. We are pleased not only to receive Food Justice Certification ourselves, but to promote the fair business practices it represents to our members, shoppers, and to our community as a whole. Having a standard that 'measures what matters' ensures that workers and producers are fairly treated. This type of certification is long overdue, and we are happy to be one of the first of what will hopefully be many businesses committed to this kind of objective evaluation, so that 'Food Justice for All' becomes the standard for businesses, communities, and individuals." The author (myself) also notes that "providing fair and supportive treatment of our own employees, and being sensitive to the working and living conditions of those whose labor produces the goods we sell" are top priorities for GreenStar.
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