Friday, April 17, 2009

Saving Money

Is this on everyone's mind?  I had a wonderful friend come through town last weekend - she is one of my "thrifty idols."  She is just amazing, so frugal, a thrify store goddess...  We had lots of conversations about how to save money.  One thing she spoke about was how much they save by shopping at Costco.  Costco has begun to zero in on the demand from the people and is stocking lots of organic and natural foods.  Great right?  So why can't I shake off my resistance and join the crowd?

Does Costco Corporate care about the communities they serve?  Maybe they do.  Does Costco support other local businesses?  Maybe they do.  Does Costco care about their affect on the earth and take that into consideration when shipping/buying their goods?  Maybe they do.  Does Costco put the people they serve and employ ahead of the almighty dollar?  Maybe they do.  But I am thinking they probably don't do these things...

When do you get to the point that the money saving is more important that the community, the people, the earth?  Believe me, we do not have a lot of money.  And I REALLY need to figure out how to spend it better.  But I just don't know if Costco is the answer.  Plus, I have faith that the people in our community will walk into the doors of my market and spend their money because they believe in me and our community.  How can I shop at Costco and still expect people to shop at Sky Valley Natural Market?

So my plan is this - I will do everything in  my power to make SVNM affordable.  I will work with my customers (YOU) in finding ways to give the best deals possible.  I do have to pay bills and a few employees to stay open, so keep that in mind, but I am open, really open, to ideas on how to keep prices down and how to keep my people coming in the door.

I am working on making an appointment with the Small Business Development Center in Edmonds.  We continue to move forward!

Thanks for reading my ramble :)
Smiles ~ Casey


  1. My dear hubby works for Costco. So from what I know, the answer is yes and no to your questions in the first paragraph. I think they see the want that people have to eat healthy, and want to fill that need, (yay!). They do have an ethic for buying products from companies who are treating their employees well, and have people out in the field so to speak checking up on things and making changes where they can. They treat their own employees very well, in my opinion, whether they are warehouse employees or they work in the home office. They are working within the current economy to keep their employees employed, which i appreciate.
    But the thing that Costco cannot provide that Sky Valley Natural Market will is the sense of community. Nothing like walking in the door and meeting people who really care about why you are there! Who want to make a difference in a real way in the place they live.
    I always wondered what it would look like to have volunteers work in a store (even though it is great to provide jobs for the community as well) to keep costs reasonable. Like a real co-operative sort of effort. Hmmmm.
    Thanks for letting me ramble this time.

  2. My husband also works for Costco!! And I totally agree with the above comment. While yes they are a very large company, and do lack that local community feel, they do provide products that come from very good companies and are good employers. Did you know that Mary Jane Butters ( works with Costco?
    I'm such a community type person, love to see people I know, love to chat with my checker..all of those things only come from shopping at a community market.
    I don't think that you can even really compare the SVNM concept with a concept like Costco they are two different animals, marketing in two different ways.
    As far as pricing, there is no way that you could expect yourself to be competitive with Costco (much bigger buying power) but people will more than likely shop your store for bigger reasons than pricing. Yes you should try your hardest to keep your price point low, but don't beat yourself up over it:)
    I wish you all the luck with this endeavor..oh I can't wait for your opening!!

  3. I love you people! Thank you for the thoughtful comments and insights... Yes, I definitely feel like the community peace is what my vision is all about - can't wait to have you all come in the doors! I am loving the volunteering concept to help keep costs down, thank you for the idea...

    I am also glad to know that Costco isn't a bad thing, even if it is huge.

    Smiles ~ Casey

  4. Costco is also known for making some "green" changes in regards to their energy use. I'd list them out, but don't want to be wrong - I have to check first. Also, Costco can't be evil if they carry Wet Noses! :)

    I love the idea of a co-op model. I have fond memories of the co-op market in Athens, GA from my college days and have seen it be successful in some other places, too. It is a great way to keep down your costs, build a strong community and customer base.

    You might also check into being a pick-up location for folks who do CSA boxes. You'd be doing a service for the farmers and their share holders! Folks could pick-up their boxes and then "fill-in" any gaps from your store. :)

  5. Thanks for the thoughts Brianna... And I don't think Costco is evil... I just am having a hard time making the leap :)


  6. Another thing I like about Costco is their leadership on using recyclable containers. I still don't like buying my fruit, veg, meat and bread shipped in and will buy local when possible (that's where you come in).

    I appreciate that this company can inspire others in the mass market channel to do better in using recyclable or compostable packaging, or just less packaging in general.

    I have also heard great things about them treating their employees well and not making people work below a livable wage.