Natural Grocers' employees are being treated to a sweet February.
Colorado-based Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage is celebrating its fifth annual Crew Appreciation Month as an expression of gratitude toward the employees who help make the family-operated company successful. Throughout the month of February, the grocer will treat their crew to gifts, giveaways and discounts.
According to the retailer, its co-founder Margaret Isely has demonstrated the importance of recognizing crew members' individual personalities, aptitudes and impact since its inception. Isely believed in expressing gratitude through action, and encouraged an "attitude of gratitude."
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"There are countless stories of my grandmother, Margaret, showing her gratitude on a daily basis to everyone around her,” said Raquel Isely, VP of marketing for Natural Grocers. “She made you feel like you were the most important person in the room. Her gratitude and enthusiasm were infectious and energized whomever she interacted with.”
Continued Isely: “To this day, one of our Five Founding Principles is a 'Commitment to Crew.' With 166 stores in 21 states, and over 4,000 employees, it's hard to tell each and every Crew member how important they are to us. Instead, we decided to make it a store-wide annual celebration that lasts an entire month. We think Margaret would approve."
Gifts for the crew include a handcrafted hat and scarf made from alpaca wool by Peguche artisans in Ecuador. There will also be prize raffles during the celebration, including a Patagonia backpack, a Coleman cooler with products from Primal Kitchen, a Woodstock hammock, a one-year supply of pizza, gift cards and more.
On Valentine’s Day, Natural Grocers will donate 1% of its sales to its Heroes in Aprons Fund, which provides short-term financial assistance to crew members or their immediate family members who have encountered severe economic hardship due to sickness, natural disasters or other unforeseen circumstances.
The grocer recently reported a solid first fiscal quarter of 2023, showing lifts in net and comp sales and the same gross profit on a year-over-year basis. Company officials attributed the increase to inflation, new store sales and marketing initiatives. Daily average comparable store sales rose 0.5% in Q1.
Founded in 1955, family-operated Natural Grocers operates over 160 stores in 21 states. The Lakewood, Colo.-based natural and organic grocer is No. 95 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.