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Wheatsville Food Co-op boosts community in store and cityWheatsville Food Co-op boosts community in store and city

Natural Products Expo and Natural Foods Merchandiser joined to award retailers of the year in the categories of sustainability, innovation, community and best new store. Wheatsville Food Co-op, of Austin, Texas is a community engagement finalist. 

Christine Kapperman

September 5, 2014

1 Min Read
Wheatsville Food Co-op boosts community in store and city


Wheatsville Food Co-op strives to be “the friendliest store in town.” That motto and its support of building community, the local food movement and a cooperative economy make it a standout neighbor in the Austin area.

Even as the cooperative grocery expanded to a second location, leaders didn’t take the landmark’s position for granted. They became active in their new neighborhood—in person and via online forums—before ever breaking ground. Now it has become a community hub, as evidenced by the wide use of the community room where knitting groups gather and community conveners meet and conduct business.

Three ways Wheatsville cultivates community include:

Community Action Wednesday: Co-op owners each autumn vote to support their favorite nonprofits with a monthly donation of 1 percent of Wednesday sales. The second store has allowed the community to double its donations. During November and December, that money goes into the Wheatsville Co-op Community Fund to make additional contributions to groups focused on sustainable agriculture and organic food, hunger and social issues, environmental protection and cooperatives.

HonkTX1.jpgSignificant sponsorships: Wheatsville takes community event support seriously by actively giving and taking on title sponsorship of some larger ones such as Austin It’s My Park Day and Honk!TX Festival of Community Street Bands. It focuses on organizations that build the kind of community Wheatsville owners want to see, one that includes more organic, sustainable food and happy people.

A friendly vibe: Becoming a friendly store doesn’t happen on its own. Management hones staff communication techniques, strives for a culture of gratitude and teaches customer service. “When we are building better humans, we all benefit,” brand manager Raquel Dadomo says.  

About the Author(s)

Christine Kapperman

Senior Content Director, New Hope Network

As the senior content director at New Hope Network, Christine Kapperman combines her 20-year journalism background with her passion for business to cover the natural products industry for newhope.com and Natural Foods Merchandiser magazine. She also led content at worldteanews.com. She loves tracking (and tasting) trends as she shares what’s next to show up in cups, plates and in pantries across the United States.

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