In the downtown of Decorah you will find an assortment of beautiful small-town businesses. Coming from a small town that didn’t have as successful of a downtown, I’ll say I am proud to be a Decorah resident.
One of those businesses is obviously close to my heart, and that would be because I work there. Oneota Community Food Co-Op; not just my job, but also a place I consider a second home and family. I thought of this blog post last night, and the theme song from Cheers popped into my head “Where everybody knows your name,” which for our regular customers, is very much the case. (Side-note, it's difficult to sleep when a musical number is chanting in your head!)
It’s not just our employees knowing the names of customers, but customers knowing OUR names as well! Just last week a customer decided to formally introduce himself to me. He’d been coming in for about two years now, but that week he found himself in my checkout line almost every day. Due to that, and the fact we had humorous conversations, the whole handshake and name exchange commenced.
The beauty of this, is that customers aren’t just “customers”, but are incorporated into the community of the store. It’s amazing to see how the Co-Op works when you aren’t behind a register. Other customers who are regulars are more than happy to assist the new customer with finding things in the store. Community comes to my mind.
Oneota Community Food Co-Op isn’t just a grocery store. There are plenty other things in our building for people to look at (not to mention the amazing classes offered!) Plus, it’s a hubbub of conversation, laughter, song, and togetherness. It’s amazing for me, having been there a little over five years, to see how expansive we have gotten for our shoppers. More and more “non-members” are coming in and taking part with what we have to offer.
My advice to those new to shopping at Oneota Community Food Co-Op: Don’t be afraid when some of us start calling you by name, remembering how you like your groceries packed, or remembering whether or not you like a receipt. It’s just part of who we are and what makes us great!