Guest post by Bliss:
On August 29th the owner of Bellingham Public Market and Terra Organica Posted this plea:
“I am writing this because Terra Organica is on the brink of going out of business and we need your help.
A Terra Organica bankruptcy would bring down the whole Public Market. Up to sixty people could lose their jobs, we would default on our existing debt, and the community would lose a precious gem. Our simple request: Please vote with your dollars to keep Terra Organica open. If we can generate enough business in the next three to six months, we will be able to stay in business.
The farmers, bakers, food processors, distributors and other suppliers far and wide – people with whom we have developed long standing relationships of trust and mutual support, are all depending on us to keep the dream alive. A closure of Terra Organica will put other farms and businesses at risk as well.
We need the community to shop here IN DROVES starting immediately. I probably should have written this plea a few weeks ago, but I thought we could make it until September when our business picks up after our normally slow summer. However, things have unraveled in the past week and now our situation is dire. Lots of people shopping here now will mean we can stay in business. If that does not materialize, we are done. Please spread the word. PLEASE share this with your other Facebook friends.
In hindsight I can say that we overextended ourselves financially in the past year by buying Seven Loaves Pizzeria, starting Trapeze Café & Deli, and by investing in new equipment (such as new bulk bins) and energy efficiency retrofits (like LED lighting in our coolers, freezers and spotlights). We attempted much at once in a weak economy. While our core business model remains sound, we need about six months of booming sales to get us back on track.
Of course, we experience none of this struggle in a vacuum. We live in a system based on an economy that rewards cutting corners, deceptive marketing, and externalizing social, health and environmental costs. We deserve better and through Terra Organica I have worked to create a new paradigm for all of us.
Fifteen years ago, when Terra Organica opened, we promised to avoid GMOs, to support organic producers, and to “do the research” on every single product we put on our shelves. We prohibited high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, hydrogenated oil, SLS, MSG, and a long list of other unhealthy and toxic substances found in every other grocery store in Bellingham. We are not big, flashy or fancy, but we do raise hell and we have blazed a trail that others follow. Every day, we help hundreds of people find the foods and products they need to stay healthy and to create a positive impact on the planet.
Much still works strongly in our favor: everyone must eat, everyone wants to be healthy, and we provide the healthiest food out there. We enjoy some of the most loyal and dedicated customers a business could ask for. We remain price competitive and will match any local competitor’s price on any product. We employ a great staff, all of whom go out of their way to help customers. Terra Organica adds a unique and valuable community centerpiece to Bellingham that would be sorely missed if let go.
If you agree, please support us by committing to doing all (or most) of your grocery shopping here over the next three to six months, and ask your friends and family members to do the same.
Terra Organica & The Bellingham Public Market
(Please don’t hesitate to call, email or stop by!)
Our projected customer count based on the same day previous years: 410
Number of extra customers: 280
Also, 690 is our record for the most number of customers in one day!Our projected sales based on the same day previous years: $6,200
Our Cash Mob day sales: $18,356
Amount of extra business attributed to the Cash Mob: $12,156
Also, $18,356 is the most business we have ever done in one day!
Typical Tuesday customer count: 88
Cash Mob day customer count: 118
Number of extra customers: 30
Amount of sales on a typical Tuesday: $510
Cash Mob day sales: $1,168
Amount of extra business attributed to the Cash Mob: $658
Also, $1,168 is the most business Trapeze has ever done in one day
SEVEN LOAVES PIZZERIA:
Typical Tuesday customer count: 47
Cash Mob day customer count: 82
Number of extra customers: 35
Typical Tuesday sales: $447
Cash Mob day sales: $808
Amount of extra business: $361
All three combined did an additional $13,175 in business, and had an extra 345 customers.
Our completely non-scientific analysis shows that the average Cash Mob customer spent $38.18.
This does not include sales in Juice It, Makizushi, Living Earth Herbs or Mount Baker Books. I know for a fact that all of these businesses were very busy as well.
I don’t even know how to begin to thank everyone. I am deeply moved, and I know that all the staff and business owners in the Public Market are as well. The people who depend on us – the farmers, bakers, and other suppliers – will be able to continue to follow their passions in part because of the Cash Mob.
I also know that we are re-invigorated and will continue to put forth our vision for providing healthy food, lessening our footprint upon the earth, and providing a hub for this amazing community to continue flourishing.
Our business is not out of the woods yet. We will be having a silent auction coming up, most likely on Sunday 9/16. We want the goodwill you have all shown to ripple out into the community even more than it already has. For this reason, the money we raise during the silent auction will be used to buy food in Terra Organica that will then be donated to the Bellingham Food Bank. That way, it is not only those of us who can afford to buy fresh, organic food who will benefit, but also those who struggle to put any food on the table. Of course, the food we provide for their table will be organic as well, thus again helping the web of farmers and other food providers who supply us.
I want my last paragraph here to tip my hat to the people who organized the Cash Mob, promoted it, and followed up to make sure that it was successful. To be honest, I don’t even know who most of you are, which in itself brings tears to my eyes. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. And at the risk of me overusing this word lately – WOW!!!