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Earth Day Celebration | 04.13.2017
Join our annual Earth Day festivities on Saturday, April 22!
Farm Tours with Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council
Want to build your connection to the Yellowstone Valley’s food culture and agricultural roots? Join us for a farm tour on Earth Day at one of two area ranches that provide well-raised meat to local consumers. Get a tour around their place and meet the babies of the herd. This will be a family-friendly event! Details and sign-ups here.
Activities at Good Earth Market
11am – 2pm
Lunch: BBQ provided by BBar Ranch & Sloppy Joes
Music: John & Ed Kemmick
4pm – 6pm
Music, Beer & Snacks provided by Red Lodge Ales
Music: The Peach Pickers
We have exciting news! | 08.29.2016
We have just launched a full scale deli remodel that will bring you a new and expanded salad bar, a hot food bar, new sandwiches, pizza, and a new grab & go case, with new recipes alongside your many favorites. We’re getting new equipment that will help us be more efficient so that we can get you great tasting, quality food quicker than ever before. And it’s just around the corner. This is very exciting news… a real game changer for us.
And, right now as we are in the thick of this critical time in our co-op’s future, our customer traffic and our sales have reached a concerning low level. Paying our bills during this time of low cash (as a result of low sales) makes it a challenge to keep the shelves stocked with all of your favorite products. This has been a trying time for us. The staff and the Board of Directors, with the help of National Co-op Grocers, have been fighting hard to get us to this point.
Right now we need our member support more than ever!
It will help immensely if you can concentrate your purchases at the Co-op as much as possible while we make our market a better place for everyone.
We continue to have the largest selection of local foods in Billings. That’s important to all of us. And, we offer great, everyday low prices on hundreds of Co-op Basics items throughout the store. We also have screaming Hot Deals that have been a great value for our customers and are changing the hours of our Beer & Wine Happy Hour to better fit your work schedule. Now you can get 10% off all beer and wine from 3pm to 6pm, Monday through Friday.
And if that’s not enough to get your attention, now through the end of October you can purchase a $50 Good Earth Market Gift Card for just $40. That is a 20% savings and there is no limit on these cards, so buy more and save more. Buying a gift card now and using it for future shopping will be a great way for the co-op to generate cash. It’s a “WIN WIN” for all!
Come in and take advantage of all these great promotions and support your co-op at the same time. Tell your family. Tell your friends. Everyone is welcome. See you in the store and, of course, thank you so much for your continued support of Billings only local food co-op.
Introducing the Co+op Explorers | 08.23.2016
Kids ages 12 and under are invited to become a Good Earth Market Co+op Explorer and be eligible to receive one free banana per visit! To become a card-carrying Co+op Explorer, kids simply need to bring a parent or supervising adult to the customer service counter and ask to become a Co+op Explorer. Each child will be issued their very own super official Co+op Explorers card!
Then, once kids are signed up, here’s how it works:
Kids and parents stop by the customer service counter, where we keep the designated Co+op Explorers banana basket. Next to the banana basket, you’ll find a smaller basket containing Co+op Explorers stickers. Take a sticker and put it on your child’s shirt or jacket (that’s so staff will know your child or children are banana eating Co+op Explorers, and they can account for it at the checkout counter. Then, each child is eligible to take one banana and enjoy eating it while you shop.
When you check out, please remind the cashier that your child or children ate a free banana as part of Co+op Explorers so that we can track participation in the program.
That’s all there is to it! If you have any questions, please ask any staff member.
Earth Day Membership Drive | 03.18.2016
Our last membership drive was so successful, we’ve decided to do it again! From now until Earth Day, anyone who becomes a GEM member or who renews their membership before Earth Day (April 22) will have their name entered into a drawing for a $50 GEM gift card.
Membership is a great value for only $10! Benefits include a once-a-month 5% discount, member specials, and a vote and voice at GEM’s meetings, among others. Plus, your commitment supports a locally-controlled food system.
On Earth Day, April 22 at 3pm we will draw for the gift card, and you don’t even have to be present to win. To enter the drawing, your cashier will ask you to fill out a raffle ticket (name & phone) when you renew or join, and it will be entered into the drawing box on the spot.
Thank you for renewing your membership or joining the Co-op for the first time! GEM is the ONLY cooperative, locally owned, full service grocery store in Yellowstone County. GEM offers sustainably grown and organic food and products and its profits are returned to the Billings Community!
Seeking New Members for the Local Producer Committee | 11.17.2015
Do you want to be involved with helping to highlight all of the great local food and the producers that make it for the Good Earth Market? If yes, consider becoming a part of the Local Producer Committee! Here are the details:
Purpose: The Committee serves to increase awareness and consumption of local foods and products, and Good Earth Market’s unique role as a source of high quality local foods and goods.
As a member of the Local Producer Committee you will: Educate the community about Good Earth Market and the importance of local, sustainably produced foods and goods, and provide information about where these items are produced and sold. You will also provide support for opportunities and venues that allow local growers and producers to provide products directly to consumers while supporting Good Earth Market.
Time Commitment: Currently we meet monthly on the Third Tuesday of the month from 5-6, but are flexible given the needs of committee member schedules. There are some weekend events, such as the Local Producer Fair, that we help out with as well.
If you are interested in learning more, email Maia Dickerson, the Local Producer Committee Chair.
So what’s the big deal with our store reset? | 07.16.2015
I wanted to take this opportunity to talk about some of the many exciting things happening at our Co-op. As many of you may have already noticed, we have moved things around a little… ok, well a lot. And many of your favorite products are in new locations throughout the store. Our reasons for doing that were
– One, to improve flow and item location to make our Co-op easier to shop, and
– Two, to generate over 150 linear feet of aisle space to expand variety throughout the store.
150 linear feet of retail space might come as a surprise because now our Co-op feels so much more open. How could we have created that much aisle space? We utilized space better by rearranging the bulk department to add another aisle of product and thoughtfully rearranging product on the shelves to make better use of shelf space. We also decreased the width of the endcaps to generate a more open, welcoming feel. These changes allowed us to add roughly 400 new products throughout the store!
The reset was a huge, tedious task and it took a lot of hard work and long hours from our staff, many member volunteers, our main distributor (UNFI), plus many other brokers and sales representatives. We all put our heads and experience together and decided, as a team – what are some staple products our Co-op is missing? We went through every section with a fine tooth comb, using national and regional sales data in addition to all our own individual experience and combined knowledge of the natural foods industry. The result is even better then we could have imagined. We have expanded varieties on everyday products in key categories, such as
– Nut butters
– Ethnic foods
– Packaged grains
– Hot cereal
– Dried fruit
– Baking items
– Packaged spices
– Snack items
– Cold pressed juices
– Probiotic drinks
– and so many more!
If by chance you have not been in for a while, we welcome you to come by and see the improvements we’ve made to our Co-op.
In addition to the improved variety and flow, we have been working hard on value. The department managers are buying more aggressively so we can have more aggressive prices. Make sure you check out the wall of values as you enter the store and see what great deals are available! And throughout the store we have so many Co-op Deals, Member Prices and Manager Specials to add value and variety to your shopping experience.
If by chance we have not have not met, or you have any questions whatsoever, feel free to ask for me the next time you are in and I would be happy to chat.
Your Co-op General Manager,
Big store reset has begun! | 06.18.2015
As you may have noticed, we have begun resetting the store – a total store re-merchandising to make it easier to shop, expand our offerings, and make better use of our space! Re-organizing has begun in the bulk and produce departments and will continue through the rest of the store on Monday, June 22.
If you can’t find something, please don’t hesitate to ask our staff. And if you see any changes you like, let us know. It’s our goal to make this transition as smooth for you – our members – as possible. Once complete, you’ll find new delicious foods, or perhaps some old favorites we didn’t have room to carry, to make your shopping experience and dinners at home more exciting and adventurous.
Update from the Grocery Department | 06.11.2015
Someone asked me the other day, “What’s so great about the Co-op?” I decided to take a little time to think about that. What IS so great about the Co-op? My first thought was the food, the beautiful, fresh food. Oftentimes grown, raised, produced and delivered by people I actually know and have developed relationships with over the years. I’d say that’s pretty great. I enjoy having the opportunity to “Special Order” items. It may be a unique item that we don’t carry or something I use a lot of and want to buy in quantity. And yes, that’s me making my way across the parking lot under that GIGANTIC box of toilet paper that I special ordered! I also love knowing that when I shop, I’m supporting a Co-op business model where the dollars I spend will recirculate in my own community. Talk about great! Then I thought about what may be the greatest thing about the Co-op. The feeling of the shopping experience. It’s a very pleasant place to be! It smells really good. There’s nice music playing, people are friendly and happy and helpful. I see so many people I know there, that’s it’s practically a social event. I like the way that feels. I feel something special, something nice, and I hope you do too.
At the Good Earth Market, we hope you experience a feeling of community. We, as a community have come together intentionally to create and sustain this special place. A place where we can buy whole, healthy food to feed and nourish ourselves and our families. A place where we can shop in an environment that is friendly and pleasant, and yes…where everybody knows our name! That’s the experience we want you to have every time you shop. Every time you choose to shop at the Co-op, you’re making a difference. So come shop with 5,000 or so of your member neighbors and support YOUR community Co-op! It really does matter. We promise to do our best to make your shopping experience everything you want it to be…and then some!
The Grocery Department includes the Chill and Frozen, Meat, Beer/Wine and Household/Pet departments. It takes a team of cooperative, dedicated and hard working people to keep things humming. I’d like to introduce them to you briefly. They’re a super swell bunch and eager to help you in any way they can.
Dustin Ferguson is our Chill/Frozen Department Buyer and is also starting to take over the Meat Department. You’ll see him zooming around between the chill cooler, the frozen department, meat cooler or maybe at the Customer Service counter checking in some local eggs. He moves fast, but catch him and say hi! He’s a very friendly guy and anxious to help you find what you need.
There are a couple of things we’re really focusing on in our departments. I hope you will notice and approve. One is out of stocks. As the buyers, Dustin and I have been working hard to reduce out of stocks as much as we possibly can. We want you to be able to find everything on your list and maybe even a little something extra that happened to catch your eye. The other thing is finding you, the Members, more savings. We are using every resource available to find deals that we can pass on to you. Look for the orange MEMBER SPECIAL tags throughout the store
What makes the Co-op so great? If someone asked you, what would you say? Think about it, and then come on down and share the feeling and the food with us. We sure look forward to seeing you!
Here are just a few of my new and old favorite products:
Bob’s Red Mill 1-to-1 Baking Flour – Bob’s has made it easy for our gluten-free friends. Use this flour just as you would regular flour in all your recipes!
Elk Medallions – Delicious!!
Numi Tea – New Savory Teas! – Savory Teas make a great snack alternative, compliment a light lunch and are comforting when you’re feeling under the weather. They come in several tasty flavors: Carrot-Curry, Tomato Mint, Garden Sampler, and Beet Cabbage. Find them near the soups!
Our Go-To Snack at Home – Organic multi-colored popcorn made the old fashioned way on the stove top using Nutiva Coconut Oil! So yummy!
Montebello Pasta – I had not tried this pasta until recently….love it!! This pasta is imported from Italy and made with the finest Italian organic durum wheat. Try it in your next pasta dish, I bet you will love it too!
written by Pam Kemmick, GEM’s Grocery Manager
No price increase on local eggs | 06.04.2015
We are happy to say that we haven’t seen any increase in price in our local eggs, even with egg prices recently doubling due to a bird flu outbreak. As our Grocery Manager, Pam Kemmick, says, “Just one more great reason to buy local!”
A Goodbye from Perry | 01.03.2014
It is with a heavy heart and mixed emotions, that I write my comments this month. As you may have heard, I have decided to retire from GEM at the end of the calendar year. While I won’t be at the Market on a daily basis, I am still going to be an active member of the Co-op and will stay in close contact with the new General Manager and staff.
Looking back, I can easily say the last 6 ½ years have been the highlight of my working career. Not only has the Co-op grown exceptionally in both sales and membership, but it has changed me forever. There in lies what has been truly satisfying. I have learned the true importance of sustainable local food in our communities and our own lives. You, the Members and producers, have taught me a whole new set of values that I will carry the rest of my life. I have made many new relationships/friends that will be with me always. GEM has become a real community, with cause and purpose, and is having a positive, accumulative impact on the communities we live in. Please keep it moving forward, I know you will.
Looking forward I see a bright future for the Co-op, one of both growth and challenges. I am confident that we have a strong management team and Board in place to meet those challenges. The Board is well on the way to finding a strong and qualified GM. Sales so far thisfiscal year are on track to beat not only last year, but to surpass the record sales of the year before Natural Grocers opened. We are half way to raising the funds for the new produce case remodel. If you haven’t “Given an Inch”, please consider it soon, as the remodel is a critical part of getting ready for our newest competitor, Lucky’s, coming in February. As for me, I will be focusing on my family and fencing business with an eye on the Co-op. I will be available to consult with the Board and new GM, and can see some working member projects that I haven’t gotten around to, and will run for the Board next fall.
I will ask you all to keep in mind that Good Earth Market is a “Cooperative” and is only as strong as its loyal shopping, supporting, participating Members. I will count on you to do your part in the years to come and commit to doing mine.
So to my many newly found friends, and all of the Members, Producers and Staff I wish you well!
Hope to see you in the coming months,
From the Local Producer Committee | 02.19.2013
As we enter the heart of winter, thoughts of leafy greens, ripe, red tomatoes, and other crisp vegetables fresh from the local farm or garden can seem like a dream. But, while the earth slumbers under a blanket of snow and the sun lingers far away over southern climes, the Local Producer Committee has been striving to make the dream of farm fresh produce a reality sooner than later this spring. We are working with about a dozen local producers to offer an Early Season Farmer’s Market this year.
On the first four Saturdays in June, before the Yellowstone Valley Farmer’s Market opens in July, the Good Earth Market will host morning markets in our parking lot. Customers will be able to find a fantastic variety of spring produce from several of our local producers. We’ll even have starter plants ready to hit the warm soil in your own garden. Some of the favorite producers you’ve come to expect at our booth during the Yellowstone Valley Farmer’s Market in July will join us, including Kenny’s Double D Salsa, das Kuchenhaus baked goods, and Lehfeldt Lamb sausage. There will be a little something for everyone, from GF Harvest’s Gluten Free Oats to bison jerky from Broken Willow Bison Ranch. We hope this news helps you survive the colds months ahead and fuels your dreams of spring!
by Heather Ristow, Local Producer Committee Chair
Healthy Foods, Healthy Communities | 08.22.2012
Do you love your co-op? Turns out the store you own does more than just sell good food – across the nation, cooperatives are making a big impact in their communities! A new study on food co-ops, Healthy Foods Healthy Communities: The Social and Economic Impacts of Food Co-ops*, quantifies the impact co-ops have compared to conventional grocery stores. The study’s compelling results demonstrate the many ways that cooperative businesses like Good Earth Market do well while doing good.
Unlike their conventional counterparts, co-ops are owned and governed by member-shoppers and rooted in principles like community, voluntary and open membership, economic participation and cooperation. Because of these principles and practices, food co-ops inherently serve and benefit the communities where they are located. For example, the study finds that for every dollar spent at a food co-op, $0.38 is reinvested in the local economy compared to $0.24 at conventional grocers.
Good Earth Market is one of NCGA’s 128 member and associate co-ops that in aggregate operate 165 stores, generate more than $1.4 billion in annual revenue, and are owned by 1.3 million consumers. Individually, co-ops serve the distinct needs of communities like the Yellowstone Valley. Together, co-ops have the purchasing power to rival conventional grocery chains, and the good business practices to truly make the world a better place.
Supporting Local Food Systems and Sustainable Foods
Though “local” has popped up in conventional grocery stores in recent years, retail food co-ops are leaps and bounds ahead of the pack. Where conventional grocers work with an average of 65 local farmers and other local producers, food co-ops work with an average of 157. Likewise, locally sourced products make up an average of 20 percent of co-op sales compared to 6 percent at conventional stores.
Years after creating the market for organic foods, co-ops are still the place to find them. Of produce sales at food co-ops, 82 percent are organic, compared to 12 percent for conventional grocers. Organics make up 48 percent of grocery sales in food co-ops, compared to just 2 percent in conventional grocers.
Local Economic Impact
The economic impact that a grocery store has on its local economy is greater than just the sum of its local spending, because a portion of money spent locally recirculates. Food co-ops purchase from local farmers who, in turn, buy supplies from local sources, hire local technicians to repair equipment and purchase goods and services from local retailers. To some extent, conventional grocers do too, but the gap is still significant. For every $1,000 a shopper spends at their local food co-op, $1,604 in economic activity is generated in their local economy – $239 more than if they had spent that same $1,000 at a conventional grocer.
The average co-op earning $10 million per year in revenue provides jobs for over 90 workers. In total, 68 percent of those workers are eligible for health insurance, compared to 56 percent of employees at conventional grocers. Co-op employees also earn an average of nearly $1.00 more per hour than conventional grocery workers when bonuses and profit sharing are taken into account.
Grocery stores – co-ops and conventional alike – generate a significant amount of waste. What sets retail food co-ops apart is what they do with that waste. Co-ops recycle 96 percent of cardboard, 74 percent of food waste and 81 percent of plastics compared to 91 percent, 36 percent and 29 percent, respectively, recycled by conventional grocers.
At a co-op grocer, fresh, delicious food is just the beginning.
Impact Report – View the full report in Healthy Foods Healthy Communities: The Social and Economic Impacts of Food Co-ops.
Infographics – View a pdf of the infographics in Healthy Food Healthy Communities Infographics.
Video – Find the animated video, along with other Co-op related videos on the Stronger Together YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/coopstrongertogether
*NCGA partnered with the ICA Group – a national not-for-profit research organization – to compile the data used to develop Healthy Foods Healthy Communities: The Social and Economic Impacts of Food Co-ops. The ICA Group compiled data from industry and government resources, food cooperative financial data collected by CoopMetrics for NCGA, and previous NCGA surveys. The ICA Group developed two additional surveys, one targeted to retail food co-ops and the other to the conventional grocery industry.
Get your favorite recipe published! | 04.04.2012
As you may have heard, GEM recently partnered with Dr. Sarah Keller’s Media for Social Change class at MSUB for a variety of exciting projects. One of those projects gave us a great start on an official GEM cookbook and it looking fantastic! We’re set to include lots of great information about seasonal availability and local producers.
What we really need now, though, are your recipes. After seeing countless loads of groceries leave through the doors of GEM, we now want focus on what happens in the kitchen. Whether it’s a family favorite passed down through the generations, or an experiment gone right, we’d love to share it.
Recipes can be submitted to email@example.com. If you’d like to submit a photo, they are best in .jpeg format.
Recipes will be considered for the cookbook and may be used in the future in the store and our website. Recipes submitted will be entered in a drawing to win a $50 gift certificate and one of 10 cookbooks. Deadline May 1.
*Recipes, unless merely a list of ingredients, reprinted word-for-word are subject to copyright infringement. Adaptations, however, are acceptable for reprint. Please personalize your recipe.