Portland Food Co-op in Summer Slump; But Ready for Fall Rebound

Portland Food Co-op at the CVS Shopping Center on Munjoy Hill.

Portland Food Co-op at the Rite-Aid Shopping Center on Munjoy Hill.  Normally the Parking Lot is Filled, But Not These Days.

By Carol McCracken  (Post # 2,413)

Sales have been in a summer slump for the Portland  Food Co-op  according to employees at the organic food center on Congress Street on  Munjoy Hill. Co-op.  However, Co-op Manager, “John,” told this blogger last week that  there are no revenue problems and that the Co-op is meeting its projections.  “We have $10,000. revenue days,” he said.

But fewer cars in the parking lot and fewer customers in the Co-op aisles suggest a different story than does the manager. The location of the Co-op was seen by its founders as an asset in what has become a very competitive market on the Hill.  It’s proximity to Franklin Street (formerly Franklin Arterial) with connecting links to the highway were believed to place it in an excellent position for success – perhaps outweighing other factors.  It’s always been location, location, location.

Employees of the Co-op concede that it’s sales have been down this summer.  But they remain hopeful that as the holidays approach, sales will rebound. No one blames the giant organic-seller Whole Foods, Kennebec and Lancaster Streets, for the decline in sales this summer at the Co-op. But  a Whole Foods employee said recently that because of the size of this national company, it’s distribution costs are much lower than a single venue like the Co-op.   It can easily pass those low costs on to its customers. (An ear of organic corn sells at the Co-op for $1.19 whereas at “WF” it sells for $.99 each.) Co-op employees ,mhn.com talked to each have their own ideas as to why sales have been in a slump this summer.  One is that it has to compete with the weekly Farmers’ Market in Monument Square every Wednesday.  Another employee suggested that people are at the beach or out-of-the Portland area, but when fall is in full swing, customers will return to the Co-op. Another had no idea why the slump.

Lois’ Marketplace employees have been telling customers that the store owners plans to expand into a former hair salon in the same building.  (See brown area of below, left photo.) The expansion will happen hopefully in time for the December holidays.  The large supplement line will be moved into that space and replaced with fresh vegetables.

Lois' Marketplace Is Expanding into the Space Formerly Occupied by a Beauty Salon - Maybe in December 2015.

Lois’ Marketplace Is Expanding into the Space Formerly Occupied by a Beauty Salon – Maybe in December 2015. at the organic food store on Munjoy Hill on Congress Street

By the way the  local chain, Rosemont Market  Bakery. on Commercial Street was selling non-organic corn today for $.79 an ear.  (There are four stores in Portland, I believe, but please don’t quote me.)

Cost Counts!