Diversity, community and partnership are a few words that customers, vendors and members alike use to describe City Market, Onion River Co-op.
Starting their journey as a buying club known as The Onion River Co-op in 1973, it saw steady growth with this model and expanded its operations to a retail storefront. When the co-op needed a bigger space, members stepped up to help with the move and even formed a person-to-person human chain, passing boxes of products to the new building a couple of blocks away. As a result, one could see hundreds of members lining the city streets, moving boxes from one person to another.
In 2002, the city of Burlington, Vermont, needed a grocer that could meet the diverse needs of the downtown community. The co-op rose to the challenge, bringing conventional foods along with their core natural and organic food products to downtown Burlington in its 16,000-square-foot hybrid co-op space. They named the space “City Market” to reflect its commitment to serving the whole community.
Technology provided by LOC Software, with support and implementation provided by STCR, helps City Market ensure that all customers can shop confidently. Providing conventional and natural local products means they have more than 400 trusted local vendors that they work with, supplying more than 3,000 products.
“When working with City Market staff, we recognize that being a hybrid co-op model requires flexibility and thinking outside the box regarding technology needs, and the solution that LOC Software provides allows us to craft the system to suit City Market,” said Farrell McKenna, VP of operations at STCR. “We take the time with our customers to understand their needs, evaluate during the planning process, and see the project through to execution.”
Madelyn Cataford, director of finance and IT, adds, “Having a point of sale system that efficiently handles our unique needs is vital; STCR has been a sounding board when it comes to looking at technology and how best to integrate a complete solution.”
When City Market decided to implement self checkouts at the downtown store, they had a different goal than saving labor.
“We are not looking to reduce labor but to enhance the shopping experience,” said John Tashiro, City Market’s general manager. “Before the self checkouts were in place, the line of customers would go down the aisles during rush hour. The new model offering customers either traditional point of sale or the self-checkout experience has made a huge difference for every shopper, and our staff can focus on providing the best service possible.
McKenna added, “What made this project so great is the attention to detail that the City Market team provides. For example, during our training and implementation of self-checkouts, City Market provided customers with an online FAQ to see and embrace the changes ahead. This has helped the group stay leading edge in the rapidly evolving retail landscape.”
City Market Co-op strives to make a positive change in its community through its Rally for Change. Every time customers check out at City Market, they can round up the total to the nearest dollar.
“We support Feeding Chittenden and other local organizations every month. Since 2014, we have raised over 1.6 million dollars; this helps everyone to rally for community-wide change,” Tashiro said.
McKenna concluded, “We know what the customers mean to City Market and how they impact the entire community daily. We continue to look forward to helping with their technology strategies to make shopping meaningful, convenient and accessible.”
For more information about City Market Co-op, visit citymarket.coop.
For more information about STCR, visit stcr.com.
For more information about LOC Software, visit locsoftware.com.
Brought to you by Rene Stai of LOC Software