Hi Tallahassee Foodies!
My name is Madelon and I’m the Front End Manager and Ownership Services Coordinator at New Leaf Market Co-op, Tallahassee’s only local grocery store. You may have seen news stories in the past few days that say we’re closing our doors forever and have some questions… and I’m here to answer them!
What’s New Leaf?
New Leaf Market Co-op is a locally owned (since 1974), cooperative grocery store that focuses on natural and organic food. We have fresh produce, meat, packaged grocery, frozen, dairy, bulk foods and body care, supplements, and a deli and bakery that features a hot bar, cold grab-and-go foods, and a smoothie bar. Our shoppers can join the co-op, which means they get certain shopping benefits and a voice when it comes to shaping the future of our co-op.
Didn’t you guys close a store already?
Yes, years of market studies indicated that our second location at Bannerman would be very successful, but our achieved sales volume was half as expected. Owners asked for it and the majority of them supported it, but low sales couldn’t sustain the store. We tried it, it failed, and we’re doing what we can to move past it.
So uhhh… you guys going out of business?
No! Bannerman’s closing left us with a lot of debt. Even though we are running our current store really well with what little we have, our debt is preventing us from being truly successful. We have another co-op (Community Co-op Market) offering to buy our assets so that Tallahassee can still have a food co-op in town. Our members (owners) have the option now to vote to allow this sale to go through. If it does, we change our name, our shelves get fuller, and the store will experience some renovation improvements… best of all, everyone on our staff gets to keep their jobs! We are not planning to have any closed days during this transition.
Are you guys “going corporate”?
NEVER! Our community will still own 2/3 of the store, with 1/3 ownership belonging to the investor group. We will still operate the co-op through policy governance oversight by the board of directors.
The shelves look empty and you never have what I want!
You’re right! Our financial challenges don’t allow us to keep the shelves as full as we want. We don’t like it either. The CCM asset sale will allow us to have full shelves again!
How does the staff feel about the asset sale?
We’re PSYCHED! We work hard and are fairly successful despite having little to work with. We’ve been described as a “lean, mean, co-op machine”. Our hard work has been recognized, we get to keep our jobs, and we’ll get to work in an improved store! We’re pretty dang happy with this outcome.
How do I vote?
Fully invested, primary owners can vote on our website or vote in-store. Voting ends at our Annual Owner Meeting on December 28. We hope to see you there!
That’s it, Foodies! I hope that clears up the rumors that are out there. If you have any more questions, feel free to comment and I’ll try my best to answer them all!