Natural Grocers Holds Month-Long Celebrations Honoring Employees
Not only does Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage Inc. have plans to celebrate Supermarket Employee Day on Feb, 22, it has been honoring its associates throughout the entire month of February during its third annual Crew Appreciation Month.
All February long, the organic and natural grocery retailer has been honoring its store, distribution and corporate teams for their dedication, hard work and support of their communities. Throughout the month, the good4u Crew has been receiving weekly gratitude gifts from the retailer, including special- edition "Rooted in Health" hooded sweatshirts; a gift bag full of high-quality natural and organic food, drinks, and household essentials; organic herb seed packets; a choice of their favorite drink and organic produce item; and ladybug tenure pins in appreciation of crew's milestones with the company.
Additionally, Natural Grocers instituted a hero pay and bonus program that began in March 2020 and continues into 2021. Earlier this month, it revealed that the incremental cost of these pay enhancements was approximately $14 million as of Dec. 31, 2020, including a permanent $1-per-hour pay increase for hourly crew and ongoing periodic discretionary bonuses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The crew is not only integral in helping communities keep their shelves stocked, but it's also a critical driver for Natural Grocers' donations to local food banks. In 2020, the crew helped raise more than $750,000 for local food banks in the markets that Natural Grocers serves, alleviating the burden for those dealing with food insecurities.
Crew members are currently stepping up to help Texas storm victims. Natural Grocers is offering free water in its Texas stores through Feb. 23. The water is from its stores' reverse-osmosis water filtration machines.
"Throughout a year that has been like no other we've ever experienced, grocery retailers and millions of their associates have remained a direct lifeline for communities around the country," noted Kemper Isely, Natural Grocers co-president. "Even in the hardest days of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed strength, resiliency and compassion every day from our crew towards their fellow community members. We are proud to join with the food industry in recognizing and celebrating our heroes in aprons and, for now, face masks."
Arlington, Virginia-based FMI — the Food Industry Association proclaimed Feb. 22 Supermarket Employee Day — a time for the food industry to recognize employees at every level for the work they do feeding families and enriching lives. The organization has various resources available through its website to help celebrate supermarket employees.
Natural Grocers said that it was proud to join the food industry in honoring employees for their service as the backbone of their communities, through this difficult year and beyond.
Lakewood, Colorado-based Natural Grocers has more than 3,500 employees and operates 160 stores in 20 states. The company is No. 94 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.