The Co-op receives between 5 and 20 deliveries a day, mainly between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Those numbers are similar to other grocery stores – but they don’t tell the whole story. The Co-op has a strong and longstanding commitment to support local farmers and food vendors who provide healthy foods and prioritize environmental sustainability.
We receive deliveries from 187 different local producers. Buying local helps to reduce the resources required to transport food long distances including refrigeration, fuel, and increased packaging. We also have some large vendors, who deliver products in bigger quantities that help us offer affordable prices.
We work with our vendors to schedule deliveries for “windows” that ensure we get fresh products to the store during hours that are least disruptive to our operations. Each vendor has many factors that dictate their daily delivery route and timing window. The factors include the size of the vendor and truck, the type and source of the products being delivered, the delivery locations each vendor must accommodate, traffic patterns, and more recently, the challenges presented by the pandemic. For example, bread and fresh produce is delivered daily as it should be.
The window for our smaller vendors may be wider and more dependent on the needs of their small businesses. To avoid multiple truck deliveries from our many small vendors, we work with them to coordinate and consolidate their deliveries. Our large vendors, in contrast, generally schedule their deliveries in advance, for specific times. It is one of the regular challenges of running a grocery store to work with both our large and small vendors to maximize the efficiency of our deliveries.