Last week, 80 Raleigh owners participated in a round table dinner and discussion with Weaver Street’s board members and Raleigh store managers. It was great to hear what they liked, and especially to learn about how we can improve and do better.
Here’s what we heard:
Raleigh owners shared their reasons for becoming owners—the main themes were to support a neighborhood store that sells healthy food and supports local farmers and producers and to belong to a community.
They suggested that we make it clear that anyone can shop at the co-op and that we more actively promote the value of shopping local and supporting co-op and fair-trade businesses.
Raleigh owners shared what they like about the goods we sell—the quality of the food, affordable prices, trusting the vetted food choices, any food choices for different preferences and dietary restrictions. Favorite products identified included our bakery bread, Equal Exchange avocados, local produce, the bulk aisle, and vegan options.
They asked for more choices —more bulk products, more vegan options, more frequent rotation of hot bar foods—and for recipes and cooking demos/classes to help prepare healthier and tastier meals with the ingredients they buy.
Raleigh owners told us what they like about their shopping and dining experience—the friendly, knowledgeable staff, a store design that reflects the unique vibe of downtown Raleigh, and a mezzanine that provides a warm, fun space for gathering around food and community.
They suggested that the mezzanine could be even more appealing with softer lighting, plants, conversation areas, and better signage. They expressed ideas for making shopping at the downtown store more convenient—offering low-cost collapsible shopping carts, more bike racks, adding Weaver Street as a bus stop, providing clear information on curbside parking and parking in the garage—and providing incentives for riding the bus and using Citrix bikes.
Raleigh owners told us that they appreciate Weaver Street’s focus on community engagement, as with the Round Up program for A Place at the Table.
They asked for more information about the impact of their donations on the work of our community food partners. Many were interested in using their co-op connection to form volunteer opportunities for themselves or as part of volunteer initiatives with their employers.
It was clear from the conversation with the Raleigh owners that there was a deep sense of “we own it.” Several ideas were suggested for introducing more people to the co-op and the Raleigh store—hosting more meet-up and social events at the store; advertising in neighborhood newsletters; promoting the store at local businesses with flyers, coupons/promotions, and food offerings/tastings; having signage at the train station and other areas with high traffic; and participating in more Raleigh events. We’re exploring all of those suggestions and want to hear your ideas!
If you have additional feedback that you’d like to provide to our Raleigh team, please email Micki McCarthy, Store Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have feedback that you’d like to provide about community engagement, please email Brenda Camp, Community Outreach, at email@example.com.