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The Latest News from Wheatsville

Posts by Raquel Dadomo

2nd Annual Big Co-op Fair & Owner Meeting

What a show! Our second annual BIG CO-OP FAIR was kicked off by our neighbors, The Ann Richards School Marching Band, Drum Line and Color Guard! Over 100 young women assembled in our S. Lamar parking lot and kept sunshine turned up to an ELEVEN for our BIG EVENT! DJs from KOOP took over for the rest of the afternoon, with a magical range of music that gave everyone a smile while getting their face painted or riding the Ferris wheel!

Inside the store, aisles were stuffed with 25+ of our favorite local vendors. We had longtime partners such as Celeste’s Best Cookie Dough (for real, the BEST), mmmpanadas dishing up savory pastries, La Riojana showing off their fair-trade, cooperative, and (soon to be official) organic wine, and Equal Exchange giving bites of some of their finest chocolates. We also welcomed some co-op newcomers that already have quite a following such as Mammoth Creamery low-carb ice cream, Bee Tree Farms local goat cheese, Treasured Earth gluten-free desserts and so many more!

OWNERS got to hear from our Board of Directors about the direction and health of our co-op at the Annual Owner Meeting, meet this year’s Board Candidates, and participate in a Q&A. Our monthly non-profit round-up campaign partners were there too – each one showing the impact we make when work together to support our community.

Kids loved taking a peek behind the scenes on our Bakehouse, Produce, Chill, and Packaged Department tours. From juice to dough – everyone loved seeing how the food we all love gets on the shelf. For others, learning more about our history from co-op docents gave a deeper appreciation for how far we’ve come!


THANK YOU for JOINING US! If you were inspired by something YOU saw at the fair be sure to pass it on. TOGETHER we make great things happen!

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Celebrating Co-op Month

October means it’s time to celebrate co-ops and help more people know what we’re all about. So…what are co-ops all about? CO-OPS are independent businesses that are owned by a community of people. All CO-OPS operate with SEVEN PRINCIPLES that help us maintain an ethics-based business that is both socially responsible while being economically beneficial to the people that use it and the community it supports.

Through every decision we make, Wheatsville Food Co-op is working towards making progress on our BIG Direction Goals of

  1. More Local, Organic, and Sustainable Food,
  2. More Co-op Economy and
  3. More Happy People.

That’s why we have 2,000 local products in store and a produce department stuffed full of organic, energy saving LED lights, doors on refrigerators, and buy Green Choice energy that invests in wind power!

Co-ops are also independent, democratic, and autonomous businesses. We are members of business co-ops, use co-op banks, and learn from and promote each other as much as we can – in fact hundreds of hours are invested into strengthening co-ops both locally and nationally.

But cooperation doesn’t stop there – we also sell goods that are made by other co-ops such as 4th Tap Beer, Frontier, Organic Valley, Organic Prairie, Blue Diamond, Equal Exchange, Once Again Nut Butter and Aura Cacia – just to name a few! In addition, your membership at Wheatsville Food Co-op means that you are eligible to become a member of University Federal Credit Union too! The more we can help each other, the better we all are.

Co-ops aren’t owned by any person, family, or corporate entity. We’re here because YOU’RE here. Together co-ops make a difference in the way business gets done and there’s only one thing you have to do – PARTICIPATE in a way that works for you. Shop at the co-op, tell your friends about the co-op, VOTE in the co-op election (maybe even consider becoming a Board Member), bank co-op, buy co-op. TOGETHER we do AMAZING THINGS! Thank you for participating!

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$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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