Co-op Sun­day pi­lot seen as suc­cess

Sched­ule next sum­mer will de­pend on avail­abil­ity of staff, says Board Chair

The Victoria Standard - - Local News - AN­DREW BROOKS

At a board meet­ing on Oct. 25, Vic­to­ria Farm­ers Co-op Store Man­ager Linda Maciver pre­sented fig­ures from the sum­mer pi­lot pro­gram that of­fered Sun­day shop­ping for the first time in the store’s his­tory. Dur­ing July and Au­gust, the months in which the pi­lot ran, over­all store sales were up 4.7% from the same pe­riod in 2016. Board Chair Heather Mac­in­tosh ad­mit­ted it is hard to know how much of that in­crease was due to Sun­day open­ings, as op­posed to other fac­tors such as a known in­crease in tourism. Still, she be­lieves it played a part.

“We were pleased with the re­sults of this sum­mer’s pi­lot,” Mac­in­tosh said via tele­phone on Novem­ber 5.

“The Board is in sup­port of of­fer­ing Sun­day shop­ping again next sum­mer. The big­gest chal­lenge we face is staffing. We’d like to hire more stu­dents, but if you look at the lo­cal grad­u­at­ing class, it gets smaller ev­ery year.”

Mac­in­tosh said that sales were down slightly on Satur­days and Mon­days, but that it is nor­mal for any busi­ness that opens on Sun­days.

“I be­lieve the strength of the num­bers show that the Co-op con­tin­ues to be an im­por­tant part of the com­mu­nity. If Sun­day shop­ping is a ser­vice wel­comed by the com­mu­nity, we’re happy to serve. We didn’t hear any­thing neg­a­tive about Sun­days.”

Mac­in­tosh added that the 12 noon to four o’clock open­ing ap­peared to be suf­fi­cient for peo­ple to get in and get out with the items they needed. Many sales ap­peared to cen­tre around con­ve­nience items, such as chips, soda and other snacks.

“The em­ploy­ees de­serve a lot of credit for their will­ing­ness to adapt to a new sched­ule and work Sun­days.”

Asked whether the strength of the sum­mer pi­lot pro­ject might lead to year-round Sun­day shop­ping, Mac­in­tosh replied, “At this point, I don’t fore­see us open­ing on Sun­days be­yond the sum­mer months. We are still a busi­ness, and I’m not sure I see that move as a prof­itable one.”

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