Membership Corner: Bring on the Crowds ­– We Love It!

Kirsten Bernal, Weavers Way Membership Manager

I write this in the wake of another successful Member Appreciation event. I think it is fair to say that there was a whole lot of appreciatin’ goin’ on! The four day period (Feb. 11-14) saw our fifth busiest sale day ever in Mt. Airy, and 69 new members joined our ranks. Besides that, there was cake and valentines and reusable grocery bags made from recycled plastic bottles and brimming with goodies for new members.

Member Appreciation Days are that special time of year when we all get to participate in valuing each other and our Co-op. Not everyone may have had that in the forefront of their minds. After all, it is hard to compete with discounts — saving money is a pretty compelling motivator, but, in hindsight, we can look back and think about how what besides just discounts made the days a success. 

In these extraordinary times, the Co-op serves as so much more than a grocery store, where the human experiences are authentic and the news is real. Did you come in during Member Appreciation Days, put your head down, fill up a basket, grab your savings and run? Or did you run into friends and neighbors (literally, in some cases), chat with staff members, sample a local product or two and accept a valentine and a morsel of Fair Trade chocolate from a working member? If you shopped on Tuesday, which was not only Member Appreciation AND Senior Discount Tuesday AND Giving Tuesday but ALSO Valentine’s Day — whew! — it may have, at times, felt like a zoo. It was an insanely busy day, but it was our busy day. We’re the real deal and more and more people are taking notice every day. 

I cannot say that the great incentive that we offered to new members during Member Appreciation Days was the only draw, because new member numbers have been strong for weeks. I can’t help but speculate that, with everything that is going on around us, people are seeking a place to belong. 

Weavers Way is where we belong. We should never lose sight of how lucky we are to have such a strong Co-op in our community:

At a time when many co-ops across the country are barely breaking even, Weavers Way is thriving.

At a time when co-ops across the country are doing away with their working-member programs, ours is reinvigorating.

At a time when co-ops across the country see less than half of their sales from members, our member sales are more than 70 percent.

At a time when co-ops across the country are struggling to compete, we are financially sound and our members have just loaned us $1.5 million to open a new store in a community that was abandoned by a conventional grocer.

Now, that’s all something we can appreciate!