I am writing in response to Cari Rowan's July 18 letter, “Down and Out in Aisle One.”
I am glad you are noticing the changes going on in what used to be two very vibrant local natural food companies. Both stores used to be places that really upped the bar when it came to sourcing products with the highest quality possible.
Now profit does seem to be their ultimate goal. And that’s where the French Broad Food Co-op comes in. Significantly, we are not bound by a profit motive. We are instead bound by our commitment to educating and growing our community, improving our staff’s environment, maximizing the availability of organic and local products, as well as our financial health.
If we do make a profit, rather than it being siphoned out of our community, a significant amount is paid out in the form of a rebate to our owners — shoppers who invest $25 a year in us ($250 gets a lifetime status for owners). As for me, I received three times my $25 investment as a rebate, based on how much I spent at the Co-op in 2011.
So that brings me to your characterization of us as a high-priced store with limited selection.
It’s simply not true. Don’t be fooled by retail games played by those with huge marketing infrastructures. If you do a detailed price comparison, you will find we are comparable if not better on most items. This is because we are part of a larger national co-op. We pull together to negotiate better pricing from our bigger suppliers. …
The Co-op is poised to grow in the coming years, as we have become a very strong company lately. You are right: “This presents [us] with a great opportunity to expand, if we have the resources necessary.” So I want to remind you: We will gain the resources we need when more people like you give up on the corporations that are siphoning money out of our community.
Join us. Shop here and make us the store you need us to be. It’s people-power time! Your choices will define our future.
— Bobby Sullivan
French Broad Food Co-op