P6 month is successful because of the efforts of employees at P6 co-ops. This week we’re profiling Seward Co-op employee Jared Peterson, a buyer in the Wellness Department, who, along with his coworkers in the department, went above and beyond to make P6 month great in Wellness.
P6: What have you done this year to make P6 month visible and successful in the Wellness Department?
Jared Peterson: We started out by focusing on our local producers. We were in communication with those small and local companies to make sure they understand the P6 program and how their company fits into it. We see if the companies want to participate by offering a discount that we can pass on to consumers. There’s a lot we do in-store in terms of fliers, Sprout [the Seward Co-op newsletter], and putting up displays and endcaps to promote these products.
P6: How about wellness companies that are cooperative and support small farmers, but aren’t local? I’m thinking of Alaffia, in particular.
JP: We love working with Alaffia! They actually happened to have a discount going on for the first half of August through the National Co-op Grocers Association, which negotiates discounts for all the grocery co-ops nationally. I got in touch with the owner about extending their discount at Seward for the whole month, which they were happy to do. The owner is a great guy. He was just in town, actually, and did a training for about 75 or 100 people from Wellness Departments at stores all over the Twin Cities. He does this amazing Togolese lunch and tells us about the company and how they support small farmers across Africa.
P6: What are some successes you’ve had this year for P6 month?
JP: We’ve had a lot of participation from our vendors. There’s a lot of support among these small, local companies on having a whole month dedicated to P6. They are excited about coming in to do demonstrations. Right now, we have Robb from Four Elements demo-ing their products, which are not only locally produced but also locally grown. We get a lot of customer engagement with those demonstrations, and it’s exciting because the products are also on sale. It seems like we have fewer P6 products than other departments, particularly in supplements, so we really want to support and promote the ones we have.
P6: How is P6 month going this year?
JP: It’s going really well! Our sales of P6 products are already up 14% over P6 month last year. We have a department goal of reaching a 19% increase, and that’s really motivating.
P6: What do you think other stores should know about running a successful P6 month in Wellness?
JP: It’s so important to make sure the vendors understand the P6 program and how they fit into it. Bringing people in to demonstrate their products is crucial. We like to have a lot of literature available. We’re lucky that we have some brochure holders on our counter and people are always taking that information to learn more.
P6: What do you want customers to know about P6 month in Wellness?
JP: I want them to know that these smaller companies are out there. It’s easy to recognize some of the bigger brands that you can get at any co-op, and people tend to have a lot of brand loyalty around Wellness products — I think folks are more likely to try a new brand of pasta than a new shampoo. I encourage people to step outside their comfort zone and try something new.
After our conversation, I spoke with Robb Clasen of Four Elements Organic Herbals about his experience as a vendor working with Wellness during P6 month. He said, “P6 has allowed our local, hand-made, homegrown product to have more exposure. We’ve seen a dramatic increase in sales. There’s more presence for these local products. It allows the patrons to see how great our local products are.”