1235 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee FL •  850.942.2557

Ask Steve


You have questions. Steve has answers.

New Leaf's General Manager, Steve Kobs, answers some questions and concerns from New Leaf Market Co-op members. This time around, most of the questions are from the Annual Meeting (AM) held on October 7, 2017. Have a question you'd like answered or a comment you'd like to share? Email us at nlm@newleafmarket.coop or use the customer comments box. Please put your name on the comment and how to reach you.

Bring back classes and activities. – AM
Let’s start having seminars here again! & When will we have seminars at this location again? – Anonymous
The main reason that New Leaf (and most other food co-ops) abandoned our class schedule is because of declining attendance. In the near future, we are not planning to have classes. In the newsletter and online, we continue to provide information about products and various topics. Additionally, we added more hours to in-store demos.  

Why isn’t staff as engaging as they used to be? – AM
I miss employees that I knew and have left the Co-op.– verbal comment, in-store

I don’t think these perceptions have a solution. Everyone I know feels more welcomed when their name is remembered, when we ask about how they liked the product they bought last visit, or when they hear any comment beyond “Good morning.” Customers have expressed concerns that specific employees (10 years and 12 years of service) are no longer with the store. They feel the loss of the relationship; even while realizing that being in a job, any job, for 10 years is a long time. Staff change is inevitable. It makes sense that we miss people that we have come to know.

Have we asked Owners to “give” more? – AM
Do we really need to have discounts? They seem to cost a lot of money? – AM
Can Owners volunteer to help the Co-op? – AM

At the Annual Meeting, there was a theme about the relationship that Owners have with the Co-op. Several Owners wanted to show their commitment to the Co-op through their own sacrifice of time or money. In the same meeting, other Owners were more transactional. They wondered about how the Co-op could do more for them (and all shoppers in order to increase sales), like receiving more discounts or accepting competitors’ coupons. This is challenging. New Leaf exists to meet the needs of New Leaf Owners. Some Owners prioritize their transactional or monetary value needs, while others are more concerned with organization affiliation and values. The Board of Directors and the staff at New Leaf try to find a balance between these perspectives.

Addressing these questions, no customer is required “take” a discount they are eligible for (like the senior discount). Discounts not taken go towards helping the Co-op, but we really do not take direct “donations.” (New Leaf is a for-profit company.) It is true that discounts can be expensive. The idea is that the discount generates more business than it costs. There are a few volunteer opportunities for Owners, mostly on Board-level committees, but we no longer have volunteers on the sales floor.  

Parkway New Leaf has been going downhill from lack of attention which may have gone to Bannerman. Parkway has been dirty, the serving bar sloppy, the ladies bathroom has been without soap and unclean. – FC

I have heard similar perceptions that Parkway was, somehow, disadvantaged when Bannerman opened. In some areas that has some merit, but when it comes to something like not having soap in the washroom, well, that is just a basic problem. When we miss something or make a mistake, it is okay to tell us about it right away. That helps us know why something happened (or didn’t) and we can fix it.
Guess as an owner, I don’t feel very appreciated with the recent trend to setting one "owner appreciation day,” like today. The previous coupons to owners allowed us to feel appreciated on a day we could pick. – TB

Your point is well taken. We try to mix it up a little, but the past few quarterly events have been single day sales. Owners who cannot get to the store that day miss out. We will do something different next time.



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