Food co-ops brace for arrival of giant rivals
BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- The Boise Co-op eliminated thousands of slow-selling items. The Wheatsvile Food Co-op in Texas is opening its second store after 40 years. And the Davis Food Co-op in California is turning to a store designer.
It's no coincidence food cooperatives across the U.S. are making big changes. Many are preparing for the arrival of a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, two organic- and specialty-food industry giants that are opening new stores nationwide.
Some co-ops are even dispatching camera-toting, intelligence-gathering crews to poach ideas from the big guys.
With demand for organic, natural and specialty food continuing to outpace other grocery-industry segments, co-ops say they must improve their stores, identify trends and appeal to a changing audience as the competition moves in.