The Santa Fe Community Coop is modeled after the Park Slope Food Coop, an unconventional, mostly organic, grocery store which been in business for 40 years, hence its url, foodcoop.com. One of the ten most successful independent grocery stores in the country, the PSFC has purchased three buildings and now has 16,000 active working members. It has a whopping $39.4 million in sales, which translates into a per square foot average of $6,500 compared to Whole Food’s average store sales of $31.2 million and a per square foot average of $838.
Keep in mind that these sales figures are based on Park Slope Food Coop prices, which are significantly lower than Whole Foods prices. This means the PSFC is selling a whole lot more food than Whole Foods for each dollar spent. It also means that Coop members are collectively saving millions of dollars compared to shopping at Whole Foods.
The PSFC estimates that it saves members 20% to 40% on groceries. Extrapolating from USDA numbers on what a “moderate plan” family of four spends on food, shopping at the coop saves them $200 to $400 a month, as much as $4,800 a year.
The reason for the Park Slope Food Cooperative’s success is that it is in business to serve its members. It provides high quality, mostly organic, food at 21% over cost. It can do this because 75% of its labor costs, after product the largest grocery expense, are provided by its members.
Because all members actively participate in running the cooperative during regular and flex work shifts, there is significantly less staffing cost for receiving, inventory management, packaging, shelf stocking, checkout, and cleaning. The money saved on staffing reduces the price of food. Other economies include carefully selected inventory, 9,500 SKUs instead of the customary 50,000, like Trader Joe’s, enabling reduced inventory, leasing and energy costs; reduced use of packaging; and eliminating credit card interchange fees.
Like the Park Slope Food Coop, the Santa Fe Community Coop is a member owned, member operated, member governed consumer cooperative selling nutritious food at affordable prices.
The Park Slope Co-op Makes More Money Than Whole Foods , Grubb Street NY
The rise of the grocery co-op , Fortune
Whole Foods Market Q2 2010 Earnings Call Transcript , Seeking Alpha