Good Earth Co-op Working to Overcome Slump
ST. CLOUD -- After more than four decades, The Good Earth Food Co-op in St. Cloud is facing an uncertain future.
The Centennial Plaza store, offering organic and locally-sourced food, coffee, household products and other items, has seen a steady decline in sales for the past three years.
Now, with the upcoming closure of Coborn's Centennial Plaza location, Good Earth is working to reverse that slump and become the grocer of choice for the neighborhood.
Sara Mruz, president of the Good Earth Food Co-op Board of Directors, says members were informed of the store's hardships in a well-attended recent meeting. The store is currently working with a consultant, hired as interim general manager, who aims to lower operating costs and product prices.
They're also planning to stock the shelves with cost-effective basics, like eggs, butter, milk and bread by the end of March, Mruz said.
"We're trying everything we can," said Mruz. "We're working on making the store more presentable, and trying to spread the word - especially to this local community."
The store also offers a deli area with homemade soups, sandwiches, hot entrees, a juice bar and more - all organic and nearly all made in-house, said Amanda Hegreberg, one of the store's managers. Good Earth also offers a community room, available for parties, gatherings, meetings and classes.
"We even have co-op classes," Hegreberg explained. "When folks want to learn more about us, I do a little presentation in this room."
Good Earth has roughly 3,800 members, though not all are active shoppers. Mruz says, contrary to what some people may think, you don't need to be a card-carrying member to shop at the co-op.
"The co-op is for everyone," said Mruz.
Good Earth, originally called The People's Co-op, opened in 1975. It employs around 30 people.