Updates From Our General Manager

By Marcie Wilde, General Manager

Closing Out 2023

As we start a new year, we want to take some time to thank you for your continued support. The co-op has gone by at least three different names over the years, but our mission has remained the same.

Our mission states: “As a food co-operative, we strive to uphold a sustainable, democratic, and equitable food system that offers wholesome, nutritious, and high-quality products to our community while supporting local farms, businesses, and nonprofits.” 

It is you, the member-owner, who keeps the heart of the co-op beating. Without your support, we would not be able to exist. We’ve had a rough few years, but the beat of the co-op continues! We’d like to share some updates and trends with you going into 2024.

Sales Trends in 2023

In early 2023, we faced persistent inflation. This caused our cost of goods to increase, which resulted in increased prices. Thankfully, we are finally seeing this pressure decrease in 2024 and are slowly updating our prices to reflect these trends. Some products remain stubbornly high in cost, however. Examples of these products are flour, grains, dairy, and some household products. We have been switching up brands in order to offer some variety in pricing for consumers.

Sales in Quincy have begun to show a decline. This is a trend we are watching closely. In 2023, the Quincy location saw a 2.5% decrease in sales when compared to 2022. Total sales for Quincy were $2,968,947.11. Some ways we are addressing this decline include the revamping Quincy’s bulk section and implementation of new merchandising coolers for the deli and produce departments. This new equipment will be more efficient and will allow more space for product. We received a $240,000 grant for these equipment upgrades and expect to begin the installation process this summer.

Our Portola location saw an increase in sales, coming in at 7.9% growth over 2022. Total sales for Portola were $1,399,633.36. We are feeling this growth and are very excited to expand with the growing needs of the community. Our Portola building has a large, unused backroom space that we hope to develop in the future, possibly turning it into a commercial kitchen or additional retail space.

An exciting project we are taking on this year in Portola is a significant upgrade to shelving. Currently, the shelving we use dates to the 1980s and stands at just four feet tall. We plan to replace the shelving with new six-foot-tall units that will allow us to increase our product offerings by about 20%. This project will begin in the fall.

Round Up at the Register Program 2024

One of the most visible ways we show concern for our community is through our Round Up at the Register Program. Since its inception, we have raised nearly $30,000 for local non-profit organizations. We are proud to offer this program as a way to support our local community. We hope that you consider rounding up your total at the register. Some of the organizations that we are excited to host in 2024 include:

  • Plumas Ski Club
  • P-CREW Youth Corps
  • Western Pacific Railroad Museum
  • Plumas Fire Safe Council
  • Lost Sierra Food Project
  • The Plumas Sun
  • Plumas Audubon Society
  • Sierra Kids Child Development Center
  • Maidu Summit Consortium
  • Feather River Food System Collaborative

Local and Hyper-Local Definitions

We strive to purchase local and hyper-local products as much as possible. In mid-2023, we updated our definitions of these terms. We consider the definition of hyper-local as grown or produced within 30 miles of each co-op location. Local is defined as within the Plumas/Yuba watershed.

We consider local and hyper-local to be top priority products. When we purchase goods from local producers, we are directly supporting these local families and businesses. On average, every dollar spent locally will recirculate 2-4 times more than money spent non-locally. In 2023, we purchased over $154,000 in local goods. Some examples of these producers are:

  • Barn Swallow Farm, Taylorsville, CA
  • Morning Glory Farm, Durham, CA
  • Tahoe Food Hub, Truckee, CA
  • Rugged Roots Farm, Quincy, CA
  • Whittemore Farm, Beckwourth, CA
  • Riley’s Jerky, Greenville, CA
  • Lost Sierra Honey Company, Cromberg, CA 
  • Sierra Valley Farm, Beckwourth, CA
  • Sierra Valley Yak Ranch, Calpine, CA
  • Meadow Valley Botanicals, Meadow Valley, CA
  • Ronin Fermentation Project, Graeagle, CA
  • Genesee Valley Ranch, Genesee, CA

…and so many more! Each one of these producers has a story. These families and small businesses thrive from our support. Some of these producers may not be certified organic or meet the non-GMO definition. We understand that this may guide your purchasing decisions, and that is your right as a consumer. We encourage you to support these producers only if they are appropriate choices for you and your family. As always, we encourage you to read every label if you wish to avoid products that don’t meet your specific needs.

Comment System Revamp

We have revamped our comment system to better address your needs. In the past, we made available a clipboard with a sheet to write your comments. This system had a tendency to get messy and often yielded comments that were not constructive.

So, we have switched to a comment box system with the option to include a callback number if you want a follow-up. We feel that this system will allow us to make direct contact with you as the consumer and gain more understanding of what you might be looking for. When you submit a comment or request, expect a follow-up within ten days.

If you have a pressing concern about the co-op, we encourage you to reach out to the Store Manager at either location. For Quincy, Michelle Fulton is your contact for sharing thoughts or concerns. In Portola, Sara Lodwig is the person to contact. You may also contact the General Manager, Marcie Wilde, with any pressing comments or concerns. Please call either store to get in touch with these managers.

We want to thank you again for your continued support; our co-op thrives on your participation and patronage!