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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Rainbow Grocery Will Cease 20 Percent Discount Days in October

Posted By on Wed, Sep 8, 2010 at 4:00 PM

click to enlarge Adios, discount day!
  • Adios, discount day!
Mission Local has a scoop that will likely send shockwaves through the San Francisco foodie community: Rainbow Grocery, San Francisco's much-beloved health food cooperative, will be curtailing its 20-percent-off midweek coupons at the end of this month.

The worker-owners voted months ago to stop issuing the coupons that the co-op's devotees eagerly tear from their phone books (and their neighbors'), offering 20 percent off their grocery bill every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. While Rainbow purportedly turned a profit on those days, the droves of customers flooding the store were overwhelming the employees and driving away longtime shoppers.  

One worker-owner, who wished to remain anonymous, told SF Weekly that the vote came down to 70 staffers in favor of keeping the coupons losing out to more than 100 workers against. (The public-relations employees who could have spoken on the record were all busy -- this being 20-percent-off Wednesday and all.)

The worker said she thinks getting rid of the discount is a major mistake: "It's been a community thing. The customers are happy when they get [the coupons]." She thought that Whole Foods is probably celebrating the news.

I want my discount gluten-free flour!
  • I want my discount gluten-free flour!
"Whole Foods is notorious for going into towns, throwing out the little health food stores, and moving in, so I'm sure that's gonna be a problem," she said. "We're surrounded by Whole Foods in every direction, so that's gonna be rough competition."

For now, the worker says, the decision is permanent -- unless another vote is called. "I think there's gonna be enough resistance that we might have to bring it back."

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Lauren Smiley


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