Dissing the New Co-op

Dissing the New Co-op

“It feels just like a Whole Foods now,” some complain.

“I prefer Putney,” others say. “That’s a real Co-op.”

What is a real Co-op, I wonder? BFC is the only Co-op that I’ve ever intimately known, and in my 20 years in Vermont, I’ve seen it undergo some pretty radical changes.

Lucky for me, I love all things new. New people. New places. New spaces. But change on this large of a scale is challenging.

I miss the old-old-old kids room. By the front door. With the slide. But I could see how a kids room near an exit could be a misfit. I was especially glad when they moved it a third time–away from the added noise of the smoothie blenders. I come upon the kids room in the new Co-op yet, but I keep hearing about it. That’s how gigantic the new store is.

We all like to complain, don’t we? Especially when we’re anxious.

A bunch of us are complaining about the cheese department, but we’re also thrilled about the sliced cheese in the deli and the promise of pizza. Heck, I’m overjoyed that I don’t have to wait for someone to pour my chai anymore.

Some people say that they might as well shop at Price Chopper or Hannafords, that there’s no difference, especially since they have “natural food” selections too.

For me the greatest difference has always been the cereal aisle. I hardly ever have to fight with my kids in the Co-op.  Generally there’s not going to be candy masquerading as breakfast.

“We own the Co-op, right Mom?” they ask.

“Yep,” I say.

Now that’s a difference that makes ALL the difference.

Kelly Salasin, July 2012

One thought on “Dissing the New Co-op

  1. I used to work at the Brattleboro Food Coop until I moved to Northern California. Now I work at a locally owned natural foods market called The Good Earth. On February 15th we moved into our brand new expanded location down the street from the older store. We renovated an old eyesore in town to create our new store: we expanded all the departments, added parking, landscaped, renovated the building with green technology and used local artists to beautify, and even added new departments plus tons more selection in our deli and hot food.

    Many people loved it immediately, but lots of the regulars were aghast: “it’s just like Whole Foods”, “it’s too big”, “it’s impersonal”, “you ruined my local grocery store,” etc. Nearly five months later the furor has quieted down and I think I can safely say, now that everyone has gotten over the shock, that most people enjoy the new store. Sales are up and everyone is happy and friendly again.

    I’m sure it will be the same for the Coop in Brattleboro. I can’t wait to see it when I visit town in August!


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