Your Co-op's Financial Update

Excerpted from New Pi's Board Treasurer Report by Calvin Norris, printed in our 2017 Annual Report:

Calvin's Annual Report

It's been a challenging year within the increasingly competitive retail grocery business. For the fiscal year 2017, New Pioneer experienced an overall Net Loss of $272,246. New Pioneer’s business generated positive cash flow, but sales are not currently recouping its prior capital investments. (Find further details here.)

The biggest challenge New Pioneer continues to face is the explosive growth of competition, particularly those targeting the organic and natural food segment of the market.

Since 2013, multiple new competitors have entered the Johnson County area, increasing retail grocery square footage by 43%. By contrast, over the same period, the population of Johnson County has only grown by about 7.9%.

As a result, New Pioneer has seen a decline of sales in Johnson County, and only modest sales growth in Cedar Rapids. Although this trend isn’t exactly new, it will undoubtedly get worse before it gets better. Competitors are slated to open even more stores in Johnson County.

By 2018, the overall retail grocery square footage within Johnson County is expected to be 70% higher than 2013 levels.

Fortunately, our management and staff have been working diligently to adapt to this ultra-competitive climate, and they will continue to do so. This is not a quick or easy task, nor is there a single “magic bullet” solution.

I won’t sugar coat it – the next few years will be tough for New Pi.

But as we implement the changes we’ve been working on over the coming months, we hope our owners find that our adaptation maximizes the relevance and value of New Pioneer to our shoppers. With the help of our staff and our loyal owners, I have no doubt we will succeed.

For more on your Co-op, please read on in our 2017 Annual Report >

3 thoughts on “Your Co-op's Financial Update”

  1. Wilkinson Alice says:

    I love New Pi and want to support it but as a senior on a fixed income, I find your prices generally higher than some of your competition. Also, I find the CR store deficient in many of the things I used to drive to Iowa City to purchase, namely bulk items such as cereals and a variety of flours. I still have to drive to IC or Coralville to find those items. I have complained several times since the CR store opened and nothing has changed.

  2. LCC says:

    I expressed this in the store and perhaps it was interpreted as a complaint when it was meant as a suggestion to improve the store experience and therefore the store's success. The suggestion is: have staff more aware of customer need for assistance while in the store. I asked for assistance in produce and waited a long time before giving up. During the same visit I waited at the meat counter for quite a while to get the attention of the staff behind the counter who were having a conversation and not providing service, even though one person looked at me but kept talking. In other local stores staff are very responsive and helpful. Although the casual atmosphere at the Co-Op might be what draws staff to work there, this also may be to the store's detriment in this competitive environment. I have heard others bemoan the same concerns, so I don't think my experience is an isolated one. We want the Co-Op to not only survive, but to succeed! Thank you for listening!

  3. New Pi says:

    Hi Alice & LCC, Thanks so much for taking the time to give us feedback. I've shared this information with our store managers and we'll follow up with you directly, Alice, to get more specifics on what you'd like to see in bulk in CR.
    We do conduct regular price audits with our competitors' prices to make sure that we're on par with their prices when comparing apples to apples (or rather local, organic apples to local, organic apples). We offer particularly deep sales that change over every other week, and I shop those great sales to stock my pantry (if you don't get our emails about them, I'd encourage you to sign up with the "Sales & Newsletter Sign-up" link at the top of this page – we often have really deep flash sales when we snag a super deal for our shoppers and send notice of these out to our email list). We also recently introduced our Co-op Basics line of over a hundred very affordable household staples with natural and organic ingredients and "clean labels" at great prices – I'd encourage you to look for the purple Co-op Basics tags on shelves throughout our stores for these.
    LCC, I'm sorry to hear about your customer service experience and am sharing it with our customer service team – we will absolutely work on improving this! We are here to serve your needs; in fact it's the only reason we're here, so we will endeavor to do that better. Thanks again for taking the time to communicate with us.
    - Allie

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