An Update from Your Virtual Co-op

Mike Houston, General Manager

I’ll level with you all. I’m tired. But as the saying goes, Rome didn’t convert its 39-year business model to online only to prioritize the safety of staff and community in a day. Not too tired for a joke or two still, I guess.  

I again extend a virtual curtain call to the entire staff of TPSS who have worked tirelessly to get our system up and running and worked through growing pains while still getting groceries out the door and into your homes. Half of our staff have worked at the co-op more than five years, and they’ve each learned very different jobs in a few short days. A record number of orders went out the door yesterday, and I aim to break that for many days to come.  

Some answers to practical questions, then we’ll get back to the lovey dovey stuff:

We received a huge number of orders. You love us, you really love us. We’re currently running at about a 48-72 hour turnaround. We’ll be improving that turnaround time as we get used to processing things and more familiar with the pace of our new reality.  

We are seeing a lot of out of stock items in the orders we get from distributors at the moment. Items that were left off your order will be refunded to the card in a few days. My advice would be order some extra varieties of similar products to try to get what you’re looking for. If you get them all, you’ll be lucky, but I would expect heavily purchased staples to be inconsistent at best with stock levels. There is also now the ability to select for allowing substitutions in general as well.   

We know all the products you love aren’t on the site yet. We’re working on more departments and products as we go, making sure we don’t get too far ahead of what we can process. 

Discounts are now back and integrated, you will see the options as you check out.  

We are constantly working on adding functionality to improve the site. Every time you return, it will get better. Until it’s perfect, and then I guess I’ll take a day off.  

We’ll have communication in the coming week about community groups looking to help with pickups, deliveries, order support and other help for those who need it.  

If you have any questions not covered here, emailing is the best way and we’ll get back in touch.  

The messages of support are greatly appreciated, they are being shared with the whole staff.  Not a single thing has been easy in the last week (did I mention my son chose to start teething and stop sleeping?), but you can be proud of your Co-op’s leadership. We donated $6000 to local hunger and service non-profits as need began to rise. We beat even the biggest of chain grocery stores to the conclusion of a safe business model in this time. The Washington Post featured TPSS as we transitioned online. Small urban co-ops across the country are looking at our model and we are sharing our resources and knowledge gained. As other stores continue to put front line workers at risk, I’m extremely proud that all our hard work will allow TPSS to continue to serve as an essential business.  

There are a bunch of clichés that every business is using in their communications right now.  Unprecedented, uncertain, never before, etc. I’ll skip over all of those and just say thank you. See you around the virtual Co-op.