We don’t keep too many secrets at the co-op. We share financial information with our member-owners, staff and other co-ops. We let you know what we’re working on in our newsletter so you’ll be informed. But sometimes I get the feeling that I have a secret advantage over other shoppers just because I’ve worked here for a while (10 years this October!).
So it’s time to share some of my favorite insider tips for shopping at the co-op!
1. Shop before 10am or after 7pm.
Now I don’t always follow this rule myself, but if you’re looking for a better parking spot, shorter lines at the register and nice, calm shopping experience, these are the hours to come (especially on the weekend).
2. Mark your member-owner coupon expiration dates in your planner or phone.
Those coupons on the last page of your Market Medley newsletter are no secret, but actually using them can take some planning. If you remember to use them, you can save up to $60 a year! So put those coupons from the June/July issue in your wallet as soon as it arrives. Then go ahead and schedule the expiration dates for this year: July 31, September 30, November 30, January 31, March 31 and May 31.
3. Use the second parking lot at the Selby store.
There are times when people circle the parking lot at our Selby store like vultures, just waiting for someone to give up a spot. But did you know there’s a second parking lot across Hague Ave? It’s a little further to walk, but there’s usually no circling required! If you’d like help to your car, just ask. We even have a big cart for bringing your groceries out that can handle the bumps on the sidewalk.
4. Our deli food is homemade!
I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but most grocery stores and many restaurants don’t make their own food. It’s often made en masse off-site with added preservatives and heated up in a microwave, a la school lunches. Yuck. Our food is prepared from fresh, whole foods- usually organic, and local when available. We admittedly don’t do a good job of advertising this. In fact, even I didn’t realize how many organic ingredients are used in our deli until recently. Or that all of our milk and butter used in our baked goods are locally produced. As if I needed another reason to forget my lunchbox at home…
5. You can request your deli food in compostable containers!
If you have a compost bin at home and want to avoid plastics, just ask for the deli to dish up your hot or cold meal in our compostable food boxes. These brown paperboard boxes are made with 100% recovered fiber (a minimum of 30% post-consumer) and vegetable-based inks. I just rip mine up into bits after I’m done and toss it in my compost bin.
6. Produce Deals change every week!
While nearly all of our deals change every two weeks, we add new produce deals every single week. Produce pricing is highly variable- and that benefits us as shoppers because we can get a different fantastic deal each week. I make sure to include whatever is on sale in my weekly meal planning to get the best deals and there’s rarely time to get bored with one veggie before another is on sale!