Dottie’s Discount Foods has been a staple of our community for over ten years. It has had its ups and downs but always delivered as a small, welcoming, community grocery store to our downtown. We have seen many iterations of the store from its start as a corner in the Co-op in the old Brookside plaza store. As the Co-op grew, so did Dottie’s, branching out to its own location on Flat St. Some of you may remember how invaluable Dottie’s was when the Main Street bridge was out. With Dottie’s expansion, varying product lines came and went, from our BFC -made sausages to salvaged products to inexpensive conventional product lines like Shur Fine and Food Club products. Many downtown residents came to rely on Dottie’s very inexpensive bread, milk, and eggs. Over the past few years, however, Dottie’s has experienced dwindling sales. Maybe it was Wal-mart’s expansion or ALDI’s new presence in Brattleboro. Perhaps it became more difficult at times to acquire enticing salvage products, or maybe our community changed. In an effort to be more of a service to the community we dropped prices even more, we shifted hours and upgraded our merchandising. But despite our efforts, after three years of lost revenue we are no longer able to keep the store open. In thinking about what to do, we considered the long-term trends in our business, in our community, and now, concern about the social and economic results of this pandemic.
Producer of the Month
October is National Co-op Month, and each year we choose to highlight a co-op that is locally owned and sold right here at your Brattleboro Food Co-op. Cabot Cooperative offers a unique and important representation of how co-ops can be locally owned by farms yet support production of nationally popular products. One owner of Cabot Cooperative is Hinsdale, NH-based Echo Farm. From supplying milk for Cabot products, to sitting on committees, to supporting the marketing and outreach of Cabot Cooperative, this female-run farm is proud of their contributions. In addition to supplying milk to Cabot, they proudly hand-made puddings that they sell all over the Northeast at co-ops and natural foods stores. And though they are a small farm at merely 35 acres and 70 cows, their early adoption of cutting-edge humane animal husbandry technology and protocols have made them leaders in their field.
…and I invite you to consider what your Co-op means to you and your family these days, especially in light of all the upheaval to which we are constantly adjusting. We at the Co-op have been working on how best to support and provide for all of you this holiday season (like no other to date). In preparing for this, we have been analyzing our trends and also observing those of the industry to assist us in thinking through our various solutions.