Great News from the Grocery Department!

Great news on the grocery front! Daily will now be receiving an additional delivery from our main grocery distributor, UNFI, every Saturday morning. This should help us keep the shelves fully stocked 7 days a week, and allow us to somewhat reduce the size of our Monday and Thursday deliveries, which will free up space in the aisles on those mornings.

It’s a good example of what customers’ continued support of the coop’s growth can do. Our recent surge in sales has allowed us some leverage with UNFI, who is more than happy to accommodate us, as our business with them is up nearly 25% year-to-date. Not only did we arrange a third delivery, we were able to negotiate an increase in our volume discount with them for the first time in nearly 20 years. While we won’t be able to bring down all the prices in the store, hopefully you’ll begin to notice some changes for the better in the coming weeks.

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We are delighted and excited to offer GT Dave’s kombucha for a new lower everyday price!

Fear Not the Webinar!

Of all the new words the current wave of technology has brought us, ‘webinar’ has to be the most ridiculous, and therefore it delights me most deeply. To my ear, Webinar is the webinar2name for some 1950s creature-movie monstrosity, an ungodly combination of Spider and Dinosaur born of gene-splicing science gone horribly, deliciously wrong.
 
More rooted in reality, and only slightly less awesome, actual webinars (or web seminars) have become a powerful tool for learning at Daily. Through our membership in the National Cooperative Grocers Association, we have access to a broad range of distance-learning classes that teach us new management techniques and tips. Hopefully you’ll be able to see the results in the store as we implement what we’ve learned.
 
Andrea and I have been cramming our brains full of knowledge via a webinar class titled OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARetail Basics 102. We’re learning how to better track and manipulate key indicators for coop health, about price audits to maintain healthy margins, active budgeting tools by department to keep spending at an acceptable level, and (the area customers will notice most) merchandising strategies that affect both how we display the products we have and which ones to carry. We’re also learning about the hidden areas of loss and shrink that eat into our margin. Maintaining a healthy margin allows us to have money to pay our bills and our employees, and to make improvements to the store.
 
I am very excited to tap into the data stream I recently learned about in a webinar on the SPINS data system. SPINS allows access to product movement data from all the coops in the NCGA, and essentially every non-megacorp health food store in the country. We can see what sells and for how much, and we can sort it by store, group (such as coops) or region. We can track trends as they emerge, instead of catching the tail end and being stuck with inventory when the sales slow. It’s basically a super-powered tool for buying that should help us bring more great products to you. 
 
Lily and Jane have been webinar-ing in the produce department as well. One class focused on merchandising – signage, display, cross-merchandising products and the like – and customers have noticed how beautiful the produce section is looking these days. Another webinar was about best practices in dealing with local farmers, which is very important business to us.
 
Fear not Webinar! Get caught in his web of knowledge!
Andy Dixon, Grocery Manager

Getting to know… Tiffany!

 

tiffanyTiffany started out here at Daily as a volunteer, and once we learned how capable she was, we just had to hire her. She is currently working as a shift supervisor and grocery assistant.Tiffany is a real pleasure to work with– a great team player with a fun and caring nature.  Read on to learn more about this lovely person.

How long have you lived in Athens?

I have lived in Athens for about 6 years now.

What are your favorite things about living in Athens?

I love that I can always find new places in town to discover and interesting people from so many cultures and backgrounds. I can also appreciate that Athens is a great place to live for art and music lovers.

What are your favorite places to eat in town? Any specific dishes or items you’d like to mention?

I absolutely love Cali-N-Titos and Kelly’s Jamaican Food (both on Lumpkin Street)! Shokitini’s sushi and karaoke rooms are also great! Also any place with frozen yogurt.

What is your dream vacation?

I would love to travel to the Philippines one day. It would be great to see where my mother, grandmother, and my mother’s siblings grew up.

What makes you happy?

Really corny jokes and getting to learn more about people—which makes working at Daily a lot fun.

What are your favorite movies and TV shows?

I’m not sure if I could pick my favorites of all time—maybe Crash would be my favorite movie and maybe the first 2 seasons of Heroes would be my favorite TV shows. Right now, I am really enjoying The Walking Dead and I can’t wait for the next season of Game of Thrones.

What books/comics are you currently reading?

I am currently reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. So far I’m loving that it combines my love for video games and books set in a dystopian future. It was recommended to me by Andy, and Frankie recommended it to him. When I finish, I hope to recommend it to someone else at Daily.

If you had a super power, what would it be and why?

I would definitely want the ability to fly, but it would be for completely selfish reasons. 80% of my time spent flying would be used reaching things without using a ladder or asking for help. 10% of my flying time would be spent getting to places I need to be when I’m running late. 9% of my time would be spent on dunking on professional athletes. 1% of my time would be looking for a kitten to rescue and thereby becoming a hero of a small town. I would also refuse to fly higher than 10 feet in the air—way too risky after 10 feet.

When you shop at Daily, what are your favorite things to buy?

Avocados, Spinach, and local goat cheeses, shampoo and conditioner from Adama Minerals, Upton’s Chorizo, yummy Talenti gelato in the summer. I’m never without a bottle of Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar. Not only is it great on food, when diluted it makes a great facial toner and hair rinse.

What’s a secret ambition of yours?

To finish the movie Gremlins—long story. Also to finish grad school. I really need to do that too.

What’s wrong with the world?

Monopoly. Both the board game and the economic condition.

What’s right with the world?

Ewoks

Who are your heroes and why?

My mother and my maternal-grandmother. Growing up they were always showing me the value of hard work and loving others.

Covenant Valley Farm: One of Daily’s Treasured Farms

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Nolan Kennedy gives a tour to our local produce buyer, Jane

In 2009, Nolan and Annie Kennedy and their children moved from a San Antonia, Texas suburb. They were seeking change and the kids asked that keeping animals be part of that change.

In 2009, the Kennedys bought a house on eight acres in the Oglethorpe County community of Smithonia. They originally intended to use the land for a few horses, but their property has grown to approximately 30 acres and they now own and operate Covenant Valley Farm. Additionally, they lease 45 acres to raise cattle.

covenantchickenOn Thursdays, Nolan and Annie deliver freshly laid eggs to Daily. Their flock of pasture-raised chickens includes Bard Rocks, Red Stars and Black Stars. Also included in the flock are a Red Bourdon turkey tom and hen, Mr. and Mrs. George. All are fed cracked corn and conventional feed.

The Kennedys also farm grass-fed Angus beef, pasture-raised pork, sheep used for shearing, and honey bees. Nolan started keeping bees when he was 12-years-old. Covenant Valley’s hives are Certified Naturally Grown, and Nolan was the first CNG beekeeper in Georgia!

The cattle and pigs are raised without hormones, steroids or antibiotics. Pastures are managed without the use of herbicides, pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. Instead, the Kennedys use sustainable practices such as crop-rotation and cover-cropping.covenantcow

Covenant Valley Farm products are available at Daily, through the Oconee Farmers’ Market, Athens Locally Grown, and on the farm’s website. Beef and pork deliveries are available in Oglethorpe, Clarke, Oconee, Jackson, and Elbert counties.

Written by Jane Link

Spotlight on some of our favorite breweries!

Today we’d like to spotlight two breweries whose products are new to Daily that we’re really excited about carrying.

Highland Brewing Company, based in Asheville NC, has one of the more comprehensive green approaches we’ve come across in our research. They repurpose equipment; give spent grain to a local farmer to feed his cows; use a high-efficiency, low-emissions boiler; continually innovate to find ways to reduce water usage, and use locally-sourced Porter_pairminimally-processed packaging. They also have a program of environmental stewardship, through which they partner with many river and wildlife preservation organizations. We could go on and on – it’s clear that an ethos of environmental responsibility pervades their business model. We’re truly happy to support their efforts by carrying their fine beer.

Currently we have their Oatmeal Porter, a perfect winter beer, and we’ll be offering other selections from them as time goes on. Read more about their great practices here.

Headwaters-BottleVictory Brewing Company has been concerned about the environment since opening in 1996. They’ve made many improvements along the way, including the installation of 345 solar panels. We’re currently carrying their Headwaters Pale Ale – a portion of the sales go to fund the Headwater Grant. The Grant funds various organizations that protect the Brandywine Watershed.

Let us know what you think of these brews. Hope they’re as good to you as they are to the environment!

It’s a Big Deal: Membership in the National Cooperative Grocers Association

In October of 2013, Daily Groceries Co-op was accepted as an associate member of the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA).   This is a tremendous milestone for our co-op.  Why does a simple membership in a professional association matter so much?

The NCGA embodies what it means to be a co-op.  Even before we were members, the staff of NCGA reached out and supported Daily as we made our structural changes over the last two years.

Who is NCGA?

A professional association founded in 1999, NCGA serves 136 food co-ops operating nearly 180 stores in 37 states with combined annual sales of over $1.5 billion.  As a co-op ncgalogothat has joined only recently, we can attest to the fact that NCGA goes above and beyond to support the food co-op community.  The support that NCGA offers directly to its members trickles down to struggling non-members through the co-op spirit.  Daily has certainly been benefiting throughout the last 2 years from the support of NCGA members.

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Three Rivers Co-op’s fancy new store!

When Daily was looking at the big changes ahead, we were directed to reach out to co-ops in other cities that had once been like us, in size and financials — and that had recently grown into thriving one-stop stores that served their community and offered good-paying jobs.  In particular, Three Rivers Co-op in Knoxville invited us up to see an NCGA store audit in-action.  General Managers from several stores in the greater region came to Knoxville to walk through their new store and offer evaluation of what was working and what could be done better.  At this meeting, we made a connection with New Leaf in Tallahassee, Florida.  A staff visit to New Leaf played a critical role in our journey to choose the right point of sale system, a significant investment for Daily in 2013.

Daily had the courage and wherewithal to make the changes you have seen in the last year in large part thanks to the guidance and support from our peers and professional community.  NCGA is the backbone in that professional community.

What does it mean for Daily to be an NCGA Associate Member?

Staff Training:  NCGA offers a wide spectrum of training programs for all departments of a grocery co-op and we are busily taking advantage of them.  Lily, our produce manager, met many of her peers for the first time at a Produce Excellence training in North Carolina in October.   We think our produce department has already benefited from that experience. Drew, our deli manager hopes to have a similar opportunity in March of this year while many other staff members are busy taking advantage of the online NCGA training opportunities.

Store investment:  In 2013 Daily invested in more staff,  a new point of sale system and a few new floor shelves.  As we look to build our investments going forward, NCGA offers guidance from experienced staff with a wealth of food co-op knowledge.  We are currently reaching out to them for help with a potential store re-set and long-term business plan support.

Purchasing discounts:  Although we are not yet eligible for the larger scale purchasing discounts with our primary distributor (see below on what full membership would mean), we are eligible for discounts on a number of everyday store supplies such as coffee cups, grocery bags and deli containers.  We hope you have noticed the fancy new co-op  “stronger together”  bags, napkins and cups. As our cost of goods comes down, we can focus on keeping our retail prices down. We have also just taken advantage of a purchasing discount with our vitamin supplier, Country Life.  We are passing the entire discount down in the retail price– please check it out!

Full membership one day…

In 2013 Daily Groceries crossed the $1 million in gross sales threshold. Full membership in NCGA will require a minimum of $2 million in sales.  If we were to grow sales by 20% every year (likely this year, but quite a challenge to sustain that level of growth for several years), we would reach this number in 4 years – by the end of 2017.

As full members of NCGA, we would be eligible for the kind of discounts the big chains get.  The membership of NCGA represents $1.5 billion in annual sales, which means a combined buying power that allows the little community stores to compete with the big guys.  As a point of comparison, Whole Foods’ annual earnings are $12.9 billion which gives them tremendous buying power.

As more co-op grocery stores across the US grow and come together through NCGA, we all grow stronger. NCGA helps all these co-ops work together to create better places to shop, eat and learn, which makes each co-op so much stronger in this ever-changing food marketplace of today. Through our membership in NCGA we can provide our owners and customers with better customer service, better products and just a better Daily.  The benefits of our membership will grow as we grow, and we can’t wait to share those benefits with you.  Our community driven co-ops truly are stronger together – thank you NCGA.

By Andrea Malloy, General Manager

 

 

 

Getting to know… Andy!

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Andy Dixon is all over this co-op. He started out co-managing back from 2001-2003, then served on the board from 2004-2007. After a brief interlude in California, he returned to Daily to serve as a totally rocking grocery manager. Co-workers and customers alike delight in his wry wit, his generous nature, and his horribly clever puns…This little grocery store just wouldn’t be the same without him.

How long have you lived in Athens? 

On and off since the fall of 1999. Mostly on.

What are your favorite things about living in Athens? 

It’s always felt like home to me, from the moment I got here. The music, the artists, people more concerned with living life in the moment than anywhere I’ve ever been. Very Southern, very bohemian without being too pretentious about it. The kind, interested and interesting people.

What do you do for fun?

I like to write songs and play music (my band Gumshoe is coming out with a record early in 2014), work crosswords, come up with nonsense onomatopoeias like “Snuh.”

What is your dream vacation? 

I’d love to spend a few months at Thich Nhat Hanh’s monastery, even if it is in France. Also I’d really like to see the Egyptian pyramids.

What makes you happy? 

Music, family, fun with words, bad puns, when the Braves win, moving water.

If you had a super power, what would it be and why? 

If you could have the ability to time travel and shape shift, you could witness first hand pretty much anything in history – see Dylan & the Band in England in 1966, meet Jesus, etc. That’d be cool. (I think I just explained the plot to Quantum Leap.) I’d also like to have the neural pathways of Thelonious Monk for just a little while.

When you shop at Daily, what are your favorite things to buy? 

The Deli’s Banh Mi, Chocolove Dark Chocolate with Almonds and Sea Salt, Dondero’s Pumpkin Muffins, Marie Sharp’s hot sauce, local kale, whatever the best piece of fruit of the moment is, fizzy water. My new favorite is the Dancing Deer Kalamata Olive & Fig Shortbread.

Who’s had the greatest influence on your life and why? 

Obviously my parents, who taught me that love is most important, and that being kind is our main job in life; my brother Al who taught me to appreciate the absurd and not take anything too seriously; my godfather – just a cool guy who introduced me to good music, and Bob Dylan whose music blew the doors off my little brain and whose example taught me to trust myself, to never let external feedback overwhelm my inner compass.

What is your darkest secret? 
That, despite Hayden Christensen and all its other many flaws, Episode III is my favorite Star Wars

What’s a secret ambition of yours?

To write a series of detective/noir/pulp novels.

Who in your life would you like to thank and for what?

Everybody who knew me before the age of 30 for putting up with me. My family and coworkers for being kind people who make me laugh a lot.

What’s the most romantic thing you’ve done for someone?

I haven’t done it yet, but some day, I hope to fall in love with a woman who is really into making smoothies and whatnot. One morning I would leave like 3 or 4 brand new blenders on the countertop with a note that read “Love is a many-blendered thing.”

What are the advantages of getting older?

Realizing that every little thing that goes wrong isn’t the end of the world, developing compassion because your own mistakes have taught you that people that hurt you or others are doing the best they know how to do. Increased gravitas. Getting handsomer.

 

Meet the folks at Daily: Larkin!

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Larkin, with her fiance Brad

About a year and a half ago, a lovely young woman started volunteering at Daily. When it came time to hire a new cashier, Larkin was an easy pick, and she’s been with us ever since. I love working with Larkin– she’s a pure delight. Fun, friendly, easy-going, hard-working, intelligent, and a little wacky; my favorite combination. When she’s not at Daily, she’s pursuing a degree in Dietetics from UGA, which makes her a great person for food and nutrition questions. How would you like to learn more about one of the co-op’s little gems?…

Edited to add: Larkin’s busy class schedule this semester necessitates her full attention, so she’s going to have to drop her shifts at Daily. We’ve loved having her and know that we’ll still see plenty of her. 

How long have you lived in Athens?

I have lived in Athens for almost 8 years. I am originally from Madison, GA and spent most of my young life dancing with a company in Athens, so I feel as though I have been living and playing in Athens for a very long time.

What are your favorite things about living in Athens?

I love the “small town feel” of Athens. I love going out and seeing lots of people that I know from all different times in my life. I love how artistic Athens is and that there are always opportunities to be creative and learn from other artists in the area. Last but NOT least I love the food in Athens.

What do you do for fun?

I love my sewing machine and love to do little projects whenever I can find the time. My fiancé and I love gardening and love watching things grow. My favorite pastime is cooking. I am constantly learning new things and honing my skills! Sometimes it turns out to be a disaster, but luckily Brad doesn’t mind too much.

What are your favorite places to eat in town? Any specific dishes or items you’d like to mention?

I love anywhere that has a cheese plate! I really enjoy the cheese and meat plate at the Branded Butcher. I love the tacos at Taquiera Del Sol. I miss 5 Star Day Café terribly (may it rest in peace). The tomato basil soup and corn muffins were a favorite of mine!

What is your dream vacation?

My dream vacation is to float The Nile in Egypt. I had an obsession with Egyptian culture as a child and I would really love to take a trip out there before I die.

What makes you happy?

I love being in nature. I am so happy with a fire– inside or out. I love playing cards with my family. Teaching people about all aspects of food makes me happy! I love teaching people (especially kids) about nutrition and about how amazing local food is.

What are your favorite movies/tv shows?

I am obsessed with The Muppets. LOVE the show and all of the movies! Also really like Dances with Wolves (get it K-Cos!!) and Babe.

What books/comics are you currently reading?

I am usually always reading a cookbook of some sort. I am also reading a book called “Buddha’s Brain” that is about the neurological science of happiness and belief. I really love books about anatomy and especially brain science– they are fun!

If you had a super power, what would it be and why?

I would want to be a kung fu master!

When you shop at Daily, what are your favorite things to buy?

I love our Daily Deli bean dips including “Black Bean Sensation” and “Pindi’s Bean and Avocado” Dip.

What’s your idea of a good time?

Good friends, food, drink, and a fire- I’m from the country.

What’s wrong with the world?

The incredibly messed up food and transportation systems that rule our lives… Let’s get back to the simple sustainable way that we used to feed ourselves.

How is your home like you?

Cozy, warm, happy, and eclectic as all get out.

 

Beer-lovers Rejoice!

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When we decided to carry beer and wine, we knew that we would want our new products to stand up to our existing values and buying practices–  our aim is to carry goods that meet high standards of social and environmental conditions of production. With limited shelf space, which brewing companies would make the cut?…

Our research revealed that Left Hand Brewing Company from Longmont, CO was a great fit for our store. In addition to providing delicious, quality brews, the company also cares about the environment. In 2009, some concerned employees started Left Hand Green. The group meets monthly to discuss “ways to improve operational efficiency, reduce water use and waste streams, and make changes towards sustainability in company culture.”  Because of Left Hand Green, the company has made a significant investment in environmentally friendly practices. These include energy reduction and renewable generation, minimizing waste, and decreasing water use.

If you want beer you can feel good about, this is it. We are currently offering their Milk Stout Nitro. Click the picture below to read a description of the brew.

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Staff pick: The Secret to Lisa’s Charm

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When I was a teen, I developed an interest in vegetarianism and “natural foods” and picked up a new hobby—roaming the aisles of whatever health food store I could find. I marveled at the array of bizarre and alluring products, different than those I was accustomed to my mom bringing home from the regular grocery store.

In the personal care section, a soap in little green box with exotic writing on it caught my eye… so I picked some up and took it home. The box contained a beautifully hued green bar and a parchment wrapping with product information. Along with ingredients, the parchment also contained a promise/directive: “Always Use Chandrika ~ Ensure Your Personal Charm”…

chandrika2Did I want to ensure my personal charm?.. A resounding YES! The soap also had a heavenly scent– a tad earthy, and somehow fresh and exotically spicy at the same time. I’ve been hooked on the stuff ever since.

But what IS it? … As with many beloved products, it has a pretty good story. Apparently, a physician named Sri Kesavan Vaidyar created Chandrika in India in the 1940s using the principles of Ayurveda (an ancient system of medicine, developed in India over 5000 years). At first, he peddled his soap by himself, toting it around in a wooden box. There were harsh times, “when he travelled by holding onto the ladder on the back of the bus and slept outside shops.” Eventually, the soap became popular and Vaidyar went on to do good humanitarian work such as founding a hospital.

Today, Chandrika is distributed internationally and you can find it on the shelves of Daily for a mere $1.49. Owner-members can pick it up on special for 99 cents throughout the month of December.

I do have some bad news, though: the company recently discontinued its use of the printed parchment paper wrapping so only those in the know will realize that when they use Chandrika, they’re doing much more than cleaning their bodies and making them smell nice.

… Isn’t it time you did something about your personal charm?