Published on: November 20, 2019
Yesterday MNB referenced a New Yorker
piece about the Park Slope Food Co-op, and I commented:One of the things that cooperatives tend to understand better than many traditional retailers is the notion of community - of creating sustained connections between the store and its shoppers by quite literally make those shoppers into owners.
"My store" actually means something to co-op members, and translates into a competitive advantage. It can't be exactly replicated by traditional stores, but it ought to provide some clues about how to compete effectively.
Prompting MNB reader Kelly Dean Wiseman - who for purposes of this email needs to be identified as the General Manager of the Community Food Co-op in Boseman, Montana - to write:Bravo Kevin: you nailed it!
I'm glad Kelly feels that way. I think the c o-op community in general thinks I give it too little love (and Amazon too much).
But I am in awe of how co-ops are able to compete in the modern marketplace, and think much of their model could serve as an example of how do differentiate oneself.
The other day, MNB took note of a Yahoo Finance
report on a new study from the University of Texas at Dallas and Boston College, saying that Starbucks' decision to make its restrooms available to everyone - even non-customers - may be hurting foot traffic in its stores.
According to the story, "Since opening its bathroom doors to the public in the wake of a controversial incident in Philadelphia, the coffee giant has seen a 6.8% drop in store attendance per month relative to other coffee shops nearby."
Starbucks says those numbers are inaccurate.
I commented:Starbucks didn't have a lot of options, from a public relations perspective, but to open its bathrooms even to non-customers. As I recall, the decision was prompted by a store manager calling the cops on an actual customer who wanted to use the bathroom … because race was an issue in that call, Starbucks had to defuse the situation.
I have no idea whose numbers are right. I will say this, as someone who goes to a lot of Starbucks around the country on a relatively frequent basis - even since the open door policy was announced, I generally find the Starbucks rest rooms to be clean and available - certainly a lot more pleasant than McDonald's bathrooms.
MNB reader John R. Hurguy responded:Do you also visit a lot of McDonald’s around the country on a relatively frequent basis so you’re able to fairly make the evaluation that you generally find the Starbucks rest rooms certainly to be a lot more pleasant than McDonald's bathrooms? That seems totally out of character for you...
I am a man of a certain age, which means that I use restrooms wherever and whenever I can find them. I don't usually eat at McDonald's, but when I'm on the road - which is often - I'm happy to take advantage of their facilities.
Commenting on our story about how American Express now is paying some retailers to take its cards, one MNB reader wrote:OMG! Amex is paying slotting?? Just wondering, did Amex CEO Stephen Squeri come from the grocery industry?
Not that I can tell. Though I take your point.
Thanks to all the MNB readers who wrote in yesterday about our site's 18th birthday … which also, I hasten to point out, is the 18th anniversary of the creation of the MNB community, of which I am so fortunate to be a part.
From MNB reader Mike Bach:After 18 years, you’re starting to get good at this, right?
From MNB reader Terry Marshall:Congratulations on your 18 years! I have been reading for over 15 of those years and find some great information in every edition. I appreciate the information you share as well as your take on it. It is a healthy perspective whether I agree or not, but it gives a view I might not have considered. I would wish you another 18 years, but I am sure you are hoping to be retired by then and enjoying more time with the family.
All the best and thank you for the daily Morning News Beat.
From MNB reader Ron Brake:Happy 18th Anniversary Kevin!!!
From MNB reader Phil Lempert:18 more to come!!!
Well done. Congratulations.
And from another reader:Good morning Kevin.
Congratulations on your 18th anniversary and best of luck with your continued adventures!
Keep up the great work and I look forward to MNB every day.
I love your turn of phrase … I think of this as an ongoing adventure, too. I've got the leather jacket … I just need a hat and a bullwhip.
From MNB reader Deb Faragher:Congratulations to you and the entire MNB crew. I’ve been with you since the beginning and, as I’ve shared before, though I retired over ten years ago, I still read you every day. I enjoy the news and insights, your commentary, and, of course, your OffBeat observations and experiences. I look forward to many, many more years!
From MNB reader Patrick Posey:Congratulations on 18 great years of success. You make a difference in our industry.
From MNB reader Joe Axford:Congratulations KC, you're the first email I open and read every morning. Looking forward to the next 18 years, at least!
And from MNB reader Kevin Watkins:Congrats! I don’t think I’ve been there for all 18, but pretty close…
From MNB reader Terry Stadheim:Thanks for all the years of helpful insights, timely topics and concise stores to keep me informed.
And finally, from another MNB reader:Congratulations on the start of your 19th season. Even though you have Michael Sansolo, Kate McMahon, and Tom Furphy on the team you're still the ace of the staff. Keep up the good work and and hope you all have many more All-Star seasons.
I don't know about that. Sansolo keeps referring to himself as the deGrom of the "staff"…
Again, thanks to all of you, and all the other folks who wrote in. I don't know if I've got another 18 years in me, but to quote Robert Frost, "I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep."