The deeper the partnership we have with our owners, the more effective we can be in jointly sourcing the best food options. By customizing our product line, we can attract more people to food co-ops and increase our impact on the community and the world.
As the buying agent for our owners, Weaver Street sources products that meet owners’ tastes and also meet cooperative values. Our goal is to offer great tasting, sustainably-produced products that come from local, small, and cooperative producers. We seek out and cultivate suppliers for these products and produce them ourselves. In areas where exemplary products are not consistently available, we round out our selection to allow for one-stop shopping.
Weaver Street refuses to carry products that are harmful to our health, society, or environment. These include tobacco products, meat produced with antibiotics and growth hormones, endangered seafood, food with harmful additives including trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. It’s important for us to make a statement about these products by refusing to stock them.
How owner input fits into Product Selection
On an ongoing basis, Weaver Street buyers listen, consider, and act upon owner feedback.
Listen—we listen to owners as they share valuable information about what is important to them. We work to clarify the meaning of the input. Does it point out an opportunity that we didn’t know about or is it something that we’ve already considered? Are we hearing it from multiple people? Are we hearing a coherent direction, or conflicting points of view that cancel each other out?
Consider – Owner input is incorporated along with other criteria such as quality, taste, freshness, price, production methods, and sales trends. Our buyers balance this information to make individual product selections that add up to an offering that best meets owner needs. We constantly seek the best available choice for our owners without restricting access to important product categories.
Act –After considering the input, sometimes we can make an immediate change. But other times the input isn’t immediately actionable. We may want to make a change but lack the ability to access the desired offering. We are constantly working to increase our buying power, develop new supply chains, and to make more food ourselves—so that we can control the ingredients, quality and business practices. Although we can’t always act, we thank owners for providing input and use our product blog to discuss significant changes in order to increase shared understanding.