Last week, The Bridge profiled Durham Coop Market’s Round-Up Program, which allows recipients of the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program to receive a 20% discount on their DCM purchases. The program has been a remarkable success both in terms of helping people with limited budgets buy high quality food, as well as engaging the coop community around a good cause.
By any measure this program has been a huge success, which perfectly fits the storyline with DCM. Organized in 2015, the coop has surpassed many of its early goals and is poised to further capitalize on its promise in the future. That includes the bottom line goals. Retail grocery is a tough enough business with thin profit margins and a wealth of competition. Lack of purchasing power adds another ingredient to an already difficult recipe for start up food coops.
DCM has outpaced its revenue projections so that they hope to break even or perhaps make a little money as their second fiscal year closes out. For a start up food retailer, that’s a remarkable achievement.
General Manager Leila Wolfrum, a fixture at the coop from its very first day of operation, chalks that success up to the Durham community as well as the coop staff that is in place. “We’ve worked very hard to hire from our community and hire a staff that reflects the community,” she shared. “We’ve created a group of people who are enthusiastic about the mission we’re pursuing and are giving the very best of themselves to build it. The result of that is that we can actually have some fun.”