Wedge Co-op survey aids expansion plans

Survey runs thru Aug. 31

Credit: Michelle Bruch

The Wedge Co-op is wrapping up a survey that will inform the decision on where to locate a second store.

The survey checks the distance shoppers travel to The Wedge, asks how The Wedge compares to other grocers, and seeks input on social causes The Wedge should champion. To choose the next location, staff are studying the demographics of natural food shoppers and the density of its membership around the metro area.

Elizabeth Archerd, membership and marketing manager, said The Wedge’s first order of business is finding a new location for its commissary kitchen. That will give the existing store space for a major remodel. The Wedge’s last expansion was in 1997, and staff said its growth to 16,000 members has led to crowding in the store and parking lot — The Wedge sells more per square foot than any other co-op grocer in the country.

A series of roundtables over the summer yielded feedback that a new store should stand near transit lines, and a new store should provide easy access for immigrant, low-income and disabled shoppers.

Archerd said staff hope the expansion process might be complete in three years.

“We’re giving it lots of thought,” Archerd said. “Everybody wants The Wedge a half-mile from them.”

The survey is available here.

On an unrelated note: Following the June 21 thunderstorm and power outage, The Wedge team worked through the night to save 10 truckloads of refrigerated and frozen product by shipping it to another warehouse. Nevertheless, the store lost $100,000 in perishables —a portion is insured — and the Saturday and Sunday closure meant a loss of $200,000 in retail sales.

CEO Josh Resnik wrote in the August Wedge newsletter that adversity can yield inspiring stories.

“When I came into the store on Saturday morning, I saw a crew of eight employees who had been working all through the night and, clearly exhausted, were still working at NASCAR-pit-crew speeds to load a pallet of perishables,” he wrote. “After the ordeal, I felt a sense of sadness about the lost product, but also I felt so proud of the amazing dedication of our team at The Wedge.”