Business

Canyon County Co-op says it needs more revenue

Canyon County Co-op: A first look

The Canyon County Co-op in Nampa opened its doors for business on Tuesday, Jan. 19. The co-op is the result of a two-year grassroots effort. Leaders plan to work with local farmers and dairies to stock their shelves.
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The Canyon County Co-op in Nampa opened its doors for business on Tuesday, Jan. 19. The co-op is the result of a two-year grassroots effort. Leaders plan to work with local farmers and dairies to stock their shelves.

Five months after it opened, the Canyon County Co-op is operating on thin margins and is asking its 2,000 members to spend at least $5 per week in the store.

The co-op’s general manager, Michael Worman, sent an email to members this week to let them know the co-op is “not meeting the required margins to sustain” itself and is “not getting enough customers.”

However, Worman said in an interview that the co-op is making enough to stay open — just not enough to grow.

The store, at 1415 1st Street South in downtown Nampa, is averaging 20 customers per day, Worman wrote. If it could generate $40,000 in monthly revenues from each member spending $5 a week, the co-op could grow, he wrote.

“We’re not doing well right now,” Worman told the Statesman on Thursday. “I want to be honest with the members and the community and let everybody know that this is where we’re at right now.”

I hear a lot of people say, ‘I never knew the co-op was there.’

Michael Worman, general manager, Canyon County Co-op

To stay open, the co-op needs each member to spend about $3.90 a week, he said. The store has two full-time employees and two part-time employees.

“This month was a little bit worse than most,” he said. “It’s the start of summer, everybody is going out, they’re taking vacations. It’s to be expected.”

A “taste of the co-op” event is planned for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 25, at the store at 1415 1st Street South, Nampa. The event features local breweries and vendors.

Worman said he is trying to advertise the co-op to potential shoppers via websites and Facebook, and by posting wooden signs nearby to direct people to the store.

He said it is disheartening to hear shoppers compare the prices at the small co-op to those at larger grocers such as Fred Meyer, WinCo or the Boise Co-op. He said the Nampa co-op buys in small quantities, so it typically pays more for products.

“You know, they are multimillion-dollar businesses,” he said. “We try to source and get the best prices we can, by all means. ... We put the lowest markups on the products that we can for our customers and for the community that comes in.”

Worman also said the excitement for the co-op may not have translated into shoppers supporting the store.

“A lot of those people who wanted this here, I don’t see them coming into the co-op at all,” he said.

Audrey Dutton: 208-377-6448, @IDS_Audrey

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