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The Latest News from Wheatsville

Posts by Raquel Dadomo

$5 DINNER!

EVERY THURSDAY, our deli will be serving up a delicious hot dinner for just $5 EACH at BOTH STORES from 5 – 8pm.

CLICK HERE FOR UPCOMING WEEKLY MENU

To get in on this great deal all you have to do is bring your appetite!

Our Deli Clerks will serve you up a healthy portion of our scratch-made hot weekly entrée then you can go to town on a rotating selection of fresh, deli-made sides – ALL FOR JUST ONE FLAT PRICE OF $5!

Get a fresh, healthy dinner for yourself for just $5 or feed a family of 4 for just $20! Enjoy in-store and patio seating at both stores, or take it to go!

Menu subject to change without notice. No substitutions.
$5 Dinners are a Co+op Basics item and no further discounts may be taken. Price is already as low as we can go.

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Our Green Features

“The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one  thing all of us share.” —Lady Bird Johnson

As a community owned co-op, we take our Cooperative Values & Principles very seriously. We fulfill the ideals of Principle #7, Concern for Community, in a number of different ways – one of which is being a good environmental steward. Through thoughtful, small daily actions – such as sorting our trash from recycling and compost after we eat – we can make a HUGE impact.
 
Thank you for doing your part – bringing your containers to refill, remembering your reusable bags, sorting your trash, composting, planting gardens, collecting rainwater, and for supporting your co-op!
 
Here are some things your co-op does to stay green:

  1. We recycle metal, cardboard, plastic, paper, glass, food scraps, and cooking oil
  2. Break it Down, our local recyclers, estimate that we divert 20 tons of cardboard each month between both stores. That’s the equivalent of 3 elephants!

  3. Break it Down also estimates that we divert 100 tons of recycling (cardboard, glass, and plastic) each month between both stores. That’s the same as 50 full-grown cows!

  4. Wheatsville is part of Austin Energy’s Green Choice program which uses the money we pay for utilities to build wind farms and help Austin reach its goal of 55% renewable energy use by 2025!
  5. S. Lamar has 57 SolaTubes which use highly reflective fiber optic tubes to direct sunlight into our store so that we don’t have to use as much electricity. 

  6. Ceiling lights at S. Lamar adjust intensity depending on the amount of natural sunlight coming in from our SolaTubes.
  7. We only buy energy efficient coolers, refrigeration units, and equipment.

  8. We offer bulk refills of wellness products like Dr.Bronner’s soaps, lotions and laundry detergent!

  9. We use noVOC or lowVOC building materials and paint in order to have an odor-free store. 

  10. Our waterless urinal at S. Lamar saves 1.5 gallons of water per flush! 12 flushes per day saves 6,552 gallons of water per year!

  11. Our rainwater collection tanks at Guadalupe give us enough water to irrigate all of our landscaping!

  12. Our paper bags are made with 100% recovered fiber, minimum of 85% post consumer content, and are printed with water-based inks.

  13. Lots of bike parking, showers for staff at S. Lamar, a bike to work benefit for staff members who ride 8+ hours/month. 

  14. Concrete parking lots that absorb less sunlight than asphalt and reflect less heat, light paint colors, and awnings help keep us cool through the hot summers.

  15. Email receipts, double-sided receipts, and no receipts option significantly cut down the amount of paper register tape (BPA free) we have to buy.
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Women in Leadership at Wheatsville

Since 1900, International Women’s Day on March 8th, has been observed to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and serves as a reminder to continue working towards gender equality.

According to recent Harman Group data, while grocery shopping is becoming an increasingly shared task, women are almost 80% more likely to be the main shopper and meal preparer. Retail in general has been dominated by men in leadership and women as shoppers. But as you might suspect, co-ops have long been leaders in closing the gender gap. From Kitchen Supervisors, Bakers and Cooks, women are an important part of our grocery.

The first retail grocery cooperative opened in Rochdale England on December 21, 1844 and sold butter, sugar, flour, oatmeal, and candles as a way to get quality food to working class people. The 28 Pioneers were clear that membership should be open to everyone who could benefit from their services, irrespective of race, creed or political persuasion. They were committed to equal opportunities 150 years before the term became commonplace. Founded on the principle of ‘One Member, One Vote’, cooperatives welcomed working class people to the decision-making process - including women, long before women would gain the right to vote (1920 in the US, 1928 in the UK).

Today, co-ops, including Wheatsville, continue to lead the way. Our current Board of Directors is 45% women (about 20% in traditional business), our leadership team is 59% female and senior leadership is 44% female. In traditional retail businesses 42% of women hold mid-level manger jobs, 37% hold senior level manager jobs, and just 8% are CEO’s, according to Catalyst, Pyramid: Women in S&P 500 Retail Trade (August 22, 2017).

While women still have work to do locally, nationally, and globally – it’s important to recognize our co-op’s commitment to our shared Cooperative Values and Principles. Together we are actively creating the kinds of social change we want to see in the world. By contributing to businesses that support these ideals, we can all help lift each other up.

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Work Strong Austin

This past fall Council Member Greg Casar introduced a proposal to Austin City Council that would make earning paid sick time the law in Austin as it is in over 40 cities nationwide. Unfortunately, approximately 223,000 Austin workers – 37% of the total workforce – are at risk of losing wages or being fired if they follow doctor’s orders when they or a family member is ill. His proposal to begin a stakeholder process regarding this issue was unanimously passed by council in October.


Because of Wheatsville’s longstanding earned paid time off benefit the co-op was asked to consult with Council Member Casar’s team along with other local businesses including Black Star Co-op, Sweet Ritual, Homeslice Pizza, Compost Peddlers, Purple Fig Cleaning Co, SAFE and many other businesses of all sizes, on the proposal and campaign.


At our Annual Owner Meeting, Greg Casar called out Wheatsville’s positive approach to worker’s rights in his remarks by saying that progressive businesses like Wheatsville give him and the rest of council the ability to move along a positive progressive agenda that helps more working people make a good living in our city.


The Austin City Council has begun a process to ensure all working families across our city have a better deal through a proposed earned sick days ordinance in Austin. If you would like to show your support, please find more info at workstrongaustin.com

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Guadalupe Refresh!

As the seasons make their rounds and the holidays breeze by, our stores see thousands of shoppers in a week. After lots of planning, our Guadalupe store refresh includes new products and fixtures, improved shopper flow, maintenance to our physical store, and lots more! Look for:

  • Expanded selection in fresh foods: produce, meat, deli & bakery!

  • New and improved selections for our prepared foods including more grab & go deli items, hot food and salad bar!

  • Improved wait time for sandwiches along with some new menu items!

  • Larger self-serve coffee bar to help improve flow and increase variety!

  • Beer and wine on tap for when you want to join a friend for a drink!

  • Additional energy efficient coolers that will help us increase our product variety!

  • NEW Fresh Seal packaging for meat!

  • Improved lighting and flooring!

  • Fresh paint for the exterior and interior!

To make room for some of these new features we’ve pared our grocery selection down to our most popular favorites which include all of our Co+op Basics, increased shelf space in Wellness, and have moved our meat-cutting room to S.Lamar in order to offer our Fresh Seal packaged meat and seafood items.

We’re very excited about these changes and hope you will be, too! Work will be finished mid-March. Thank you for your patronage!

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Higher Wages and Lower Prices

Shop Wheatsville and MAKE CHANGE!

Yep, you read it right. As we all know the cost of living is going up in Austin, and in order to keep our co-op staff members healthy and happy, Wheatsville has increased entry level wages for all staff member to $13.01 as of January 4, 2016. Compensation includes a full benefits package in addition to 401K eligibility for full-time employees. The $3+ increase in entry level wages affected over 80% of staff members employed by Wheatsville Food Co-op.

Since 1976 the co-op has been on the leading edge of social change, now 40 years later, the co-op continues along that path with a new generation of forward-thinking, progressive leadership. In order to make sure we stay in alignment with the cost of living we’re using nationally indexed figures that are updated annually. In addition, entry level wages will be reviewed every year to make sure the co-op is in alignment with market changes that may affect the overall cost of living.

Wheatsville gained valuable insight and help tackling wage satisfaction by working with National Co-op Grocers co-op and creating a livable wage and benefits model that can be replicated in co-ops across the country, whose staff are also struggling with significant cost of living increases.

So how do we pay for our wage increases? Well, we’ve done a lot of work finding ways we can work smarter and keep our stores humming along but the other part of it comes from you - and it’s actually pretty simple – GROW SALES!

Thanks for making Wheatsville Food Co-op one of the best food co-ops in the country! We’re 40 and keep getting better and better. It’s no accident – it takes everyone tugging just a little harder on their side to raise this barn – and we appreciate our almost 20,000 owners and shoppers that give us a hand. THANK YOU for an amazing 40 years.

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Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repeat

As a co-op grocer, one of our guiding principles, Principle #7, is Concern for Community. For us, it’s important for us to find ways to recycle and divert as much of our reclaimable resources as we can in order to help create a more sustainable store and city.  Break it Down, a local recycling operation started in 2009 by Jeff Paine and Melanie MacFarlane, has helped us achieve our goals for many years. They have a 99% recycled rate and accept and sort plastic, glass, cardboard, paper, and inedible food scraps from local businesses, offices, condos and homes.

Reclaimed Resources for BOTH stores:

  • PLASTIC, GLASS + OTHER: approx 8 tons/month

  • CARDBOARD: approx. 20 tons/month

“Bales are delivered to a paper mill just outside of Dallas. There the boxes are pulverized and reformed into long spools of cardboard. Those spools are shipped to a plant in California that cuts and prints the recycled cardboard to fill custom box orders. The boxes can then be shipped to businesses all across the country.” - Break it Down

Allen Schroeder from Break it Down picking up recycled cardboard bales.

  • COMPOST  approx. 15 tons per month

Break It Down partners with Organics By Gosh, a composting facility on East MLK. After grinding and curing, the finished compost is bagged and sold at retailers. Just look for the Organics By Gosh name on the bag and know that a tiny bit of your co-op is in there!


Compost drums are emptied, readied for curing. Photo courtesy of Allen Schroeder

  • FOOD RECOVERY: approx 4,000 lbs. per month

In addition to diverting tons of resources for the waste stream, we also contribute to food recovery efforts. Alan Shroeder, our Food Recovery Coordinator , connects edible fresh foods with people that need it. On a weekly basis, we donate upwards of 1,000 pounds of fresh fruits, veggies, bread, and dairy to local community organizations around the city, including Blackland Community Center and South Austin Community Center. Alan started his food recovery efforts in 2008 and received a grant from Bread for the Journey to help get him started.

Recovered food ready for distribution. Allen Schroeder

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9 Ways We Keep Wheatsville GREEN

In honor of Earth Day this month, we thought we’d share some of Wheatsville’s GREEN FACTS.

1. Wheatsville  is WAY ahead of the curve when it comes to recycling.  Austin has just started implementing a plan that would get businesses recycling by 2017, but we’ve been doing it for years! We  currently recycle metal, cardboard, plastic, paper, food scraps and glass!

2. In fact, according to our local recyclers, Break it Down, between both stores, we divert 20 tons of cardboard each month!

3. If you look up at the ceiling at S.Lamar, you’ll notice about 57 bubbly looking lenses. These are called SolaTubes. They use highly reflective fiber optic tubes to direct sunlight into our store so that we don’t have to use as much electricity. During construction, these SolaTubes were very useful to help keep the job sight lit!

4. Wheatsville offers bulk refills of wellness products like Dr.Bronner’s soaps, lotions and laundry detergent!

5. Throughout the S.Lamar construction process, we chose noVOC or lowVOC building materials and paint in order to have an odor-free store.

6. In the men’s room at S.Lamar we’ve installed a waterless urinal. This saves 1.5 gallons of water per flush! That’s means if we save 12 flushes per day, we save 6,552 gallons of water per year!

7. Way before Austin’s bag ban, we were offering recycled boxes and paper bags to customers. Our bags are made with 100% recovered fiber with a minimum of 85% post consumer content. They are printed with water-based inks, are Forest Stewardship Council for responsible use of forest resources.

8. We offer front-facing recycling and composting to customers, and our recyclers at Break it Down say we’ve got the cities best sorters! They rarely see mistakes which in-turn helps them be more efficient.

9. As a cooperative we have elected to contribute to renewable energy infrastructure here in Texas by subscribing to Austin Energy’s Green Choice program. This program uses the money we pay for utilities to build wind farms and help Austin reach it’s goal of goal of 55% renewable energy use by 2025!

We also do things like rainwater capture to help us irrigate our planter boxes, use LED lights, installed low flow toilets and have added showers to S.Lamar in order to keep our bike riders pedaling.

And remember, we are offering a FREE composting class from the City of Austin, in our Community Room at S.Lamar on Saturday, April 23, at 10am. By taking the class and reducing the size of your garbage can, you are eligible for a $75 REBATE on a home composting system. Each attendee will get a countertop composter for attending! RSVP for the class today!

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