Grand Forks’ food co-op thriving amid pandemic

Online orders and free deliveries behind trend, said store manager Mike Tollis

The Kettle Valley Food Co-operative has consistently doubled their sales since the COVID-19 pandemic set in last March.

From a steady baseline of between 20 and 30 orders per week, manager Mike Tollis said the co-operative hit a peek of 90 orders at the start of the Spring shutdown.

“What we’re hoping is that people are getting a little more conscious about where their food is coming from and how many people are touching their food before they get it,” Tollis explained.

Kettle Valley Food Co-operative manager Mike Tollis said recent sales have consistently outperformed pre-pandemic levels. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Kettle Valley Food Co-operative manager Mike Tollis said recent sales have consistently outperformed pre-pandemic levels. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

“The impetus was definitely the fact that people could order online – that they could order groceries without leaving home. And, when people saw empty shelves at grocery stores, I think they made the decision to start shopping a little more locally.”

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“We’d just started doing free deliveries when COVID hit, which became very popular” as people started spending more time at home.

Volunteer Mila Fraser reviews last week’s orders at the Kettle Valley Food Co-operative. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

Volunteer Mila Fraser reviews last week’s orders at the Kettle Valley Food Co-operative. Photo: Laurie Tritschler

“When you order from the co-op, the producer comes and drops it off. And then we put it in a box, so there’s only two people touching your food.”

Tollis said the co-op would explore “a number of potential avenues” to expand operations at a strategic-planning meeting toward the end of the year.

The co-op sells produce supplied by growers from Christina Lake to Greenwood.


@ltritsch1
laurie.tritschler@grandforksgazette.ca

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