COVID-19 Updates from the St. Peter Food Co-op

July 29, 2020

Greetings from the Co-op! It’s a little hard to believe July is almost over. Did you try the Michigan blueberries? Wow! It’s so nice to be able to rely on an annual favorite like Michigan blueberries for a little familiar stability in life amidst all the uncertainty. We’ve done everything we can over the last few months to ensure that the Co-op is able to safely sell you all of your favorite food and products with as little inconvenience as possible. You may have noticed a few changes around the store over the last couple of weeks. Here is the rundown:

  • People are now allowed to bring outside bags and containers into the store. We have re-installed some bulk gravity bins, and we’re selling bulk water and coffee again. We have self-serve hot coffee available, but we do ask that you only use the disposable cups provided, and take a new cup for a refill if applicable. If you bring in your own reusable shopping bags, we also request that you bag your own groceries.
  • We are still not taking egg cartons or glass milk bottles. As soon as our distributor begins taking glass milk bottles from us again, we will take them from you too.
  • Both our indoor and outdoor seating areas remain closed.
  • We’re following the Executive Order requiring Minnesotans to wear a face covering. We have disposable face coverings available while supplies last at the front-end if you forgot one or don’t have one.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out with feedback and encouragement over the last few months. The support you’ve all shown for the staff is so appreciated. As always, please feel free to contact me at any time by emailing [email protected] or calling me at the store at 507-934-4880.

Erik Larson
General Manager


May 14, 2020

Here at the St. Peter Food Co-op, we continue to closely monitor the pandemic situation on a daily basis. Our priorities have not shifted over the last few weeks. The top priority remains the safety of our customers and staff.

Masks have become a pretty hot topic lately. We’ve been requiring staff to wear masks for a few weeks now, and we’re very grateful to those of you who have donated them. We’re still accepting donations. We’re now encouraging customers to wear a face covering as well. We have new posters at the entrance to the store as a reminder. If you don’t have a mask, we do have some available at no cost (while supplies last). Just ask a cashier or another employee and we’ll happily get one for you.

Here are more of our current safe shopping tips:

  • Stay home if you’re sick.
  • Have a friend or relative do your shopping for you, or consider our curbside grocery pickup service by visiting https://stpeterfood.coop/curbside/
  • Shop alone, at a less busy time. One member per household helps us maintain a safe, six-foot distance between people in the store at all times. We’re usually busiest on Fridays and Saturdays. We also have reserved the first hour of each day (8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.) for more vulnerable people. An afternoon or evening mid-week might be a good time to pick up a week’s worth of groceries. Using a list will ensure you’re in and out in a timely fashion with everything you need.
  • Please use the disposable gloves available at the entrance and/or the hand sanitizer placed throughout the store.
  • Please only touch what you intend to purchase.
  • Do not touch your face covering while shopping, and maintain a six-foot distance between yourself and other customers and staff.
  • When you get home, wash your hands after putting groceries away. Always wash fruit and vegetables before you eat them.

We continue to analyze our systems and protocols constantly in order to maintain safety for the customers and staff of the St. Peter Food Co-op. I invite you at any time to call the store or email me at [email protected] to discuss any of the changes we’ve implemented, or anything at all. Thank you for your continued trust, support, and feedback.

Erik Larson
General Manager


April 22, 2020

We’re still trucking along here at the St. Peter Food Co-op, providing good food for the people of St. Peter and southern Minnesota. The support and gratitude from customers and owners for our amazing staff has been pouring in. Every staff person continues to amaze me on a daily basis. That support is the fuel that keeps us all going right now.

We’re in a unique situation in that individual safety measures are for the benefit of the group. This isn’t just a two-dimensional issue where those taking precautions will be safe, and those taking fewer precautions are at risk. Our community will only fare as well as the sum of our cumulative efforts. We have to cooperate. At the St. Peter Food Co-op, we’re proud to be leaders in those efforts.

Here are some updates on what we’re doing to continue to make the co-op a safe place to shop and work.

  • If you’re sick, stay home (even if it’s just a cold). Have a friend or relative shop for you, or consider our curbside pickup service.
  • All staff are wearing masks to help stop the spread of the coronavirus. You should too. Many generous people donated masks for our staff. We’re incredibly thankful for those contributions. We are still taking mask donations at this time. We’d like to have enough for each staff member to have a few.
  • We continue to analyze and update our strenuous cleaning and sanitizing procedures throughout the store. Cleanest carts in southern Minnesota!
  • Do not bring anything from home into the store, including reusable shopping bags or refillable containers.
  • Maintain a distance of 6 feet between yourself and staff or other customers. We haven’t had to implement metered shopping yet, but we will if the need arises.
  • Use the hand sanitizer that we have in dispensers throughout the store. We also provide gloves for customer use in our entry. As you shop, please only touch items you intend to purchase.
  • Use electronic payment methods instead of cash.
  • When you get home, wash your hands thoroughly after putting away your groceries.

In the past few weeks, we’ve made drastic changes to the entire store. Every change we’ve made has been in order to protect the safety of the staff, customers, and entire community. Some of them aren’t easy. All of them were carefully considered. We have many stakeholders with diverse values to consider any time we implement a change, including the 70 employees and over 3,000 owners. If you would like to discuss any of the changes we’ve made, please reach out to me directly by calling the store at 507-934-4880, or send me an email at [email protected] Thank you for your continued trust and support. Take care, and wash your hands.

Erik Larson
General Manager
St. Peter Food Co-op


Guidelines for Online Ordering & Curbside Pick-up:

  • Online orders can be placed any time (click here).
  • Any online orders received after 11:00 a.m. will be processed the next business day.
  • You’ll need to keep your phone close by. We’ll call you sometime between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to get payment info.
  • Come to the store between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. to pick up your order. When you arrive, call the store at 507-934-4880, pop your trunk, and we’ll place your groceries in your vehicle.
  • For additional guidelines, see our March 24 update below.

March 24, 2020

In order to continue to serve the changing needs of our community, we’re launching a curbside grocery pickup service on Tuesday March 24th for those who prefer not to come in to our store to shop. Normally a service like this would take months to develop, and we spent less than a week developing this one, so it’s not too bright and shiny, but we think it will get the job done for those who need it. Here is how it works:

  • Curbside pickup will be available Monday through Friday for now.
  • Complete our curbside pickup form online. Online orders can be placed any time. Any online orders received after 11:00 a.m. will be processed the next business day.
  • If you’re unable to fill out the online form, you can place your order by phone. Phone orders must be placed between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. by calling the store at 507-934-4880. The caller can just say they would like to place an order for curbside pickup, and the call will be directed to the curbside coordinator.
  • Please use as much detail as possible when placing your order with information such as brand, size, flavor, etc. and list possible substitutes where applicable.
  • You’ll need to keep your phone close by. We’ll call you sometime between 11:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. to get payment info.
  • Come to the store between 4:00 and 7:00 p.m. to pick up your order. When you arrive, call the store at 507-934-4880, pop your trunk, and we’ll place your groceries in your vehicle.
  • There is a $5 service charge for each order.
  • There is a maximum order of 40 products and 4 items of each product. Other exceptions may apply.
  • We will do our best to fill each order as accurately and completely as possible. There may be some items that are out of stock. We continue to work with our distributors to minimize this. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we roll out this new service. Any feedback is always welcome. It will only help us get better.

March 19, 2020

Here we are again. Everything is moving so fast, I feel it’s important to keep you, our customers and owners, informed as we quickly make changes at the St. Peter Food Co-op. Safety remains our top priority in all aspects of what we do at the St. Peter Food Co-op, for employees, customers, and the entire community.

We continue to constantly monitor all sources of reliable information in real time, around the clock. Recently a communication hub between co-op General Managers was started for us to compare strategies and outcomes. If any of you are reading this, your wisdom for a new GM is beyond helpful. Thank you.

Here are the latest important updates for our store:

  • Our hours have changed. Effective Friday March 20th, the St. Peter Food Co-op will be open from 8:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. The hour of 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. is reserved for those 60 and older and those with vulnerable immune systems. We’ve removed an hour of operation on each end so that we can deep clean our store and fill the shelves in the safest way possible.
  • We’ve eliminated all self-service aspects of our store. We’ve closed our bulk department, including bulk water. We do have some pre-packaged bulk items available.
  • All deli and bakery options have become either full-service (behind the counter) or packaged grab and go. We have gone to all disposable serving containers and utensils.
  • The seating area is closed and all classes and staff meetings are cancelled until further notice.
  • We ask that you use only cards or other electronic payment methods at this time.
  • Employees have been informed to stay home if they are feeling ill in any way. We have expanded our Paid Sick Leave policy to be accessible to all staff, which enables them to stay home when they are ill. We’re committed to the safety of staff and customers.
  • We ask you to also stay home if you’re sick. We’re currently working on systems for online/phone ordering and curbside pickup and/or local delivery. They will be available soon. For now, please send a well friend or relative to shop for you. Or, call or email the store and we’ll figure out a way to get you the things you need. As soon as these systems are available, we’ll let you know. We need a healthy staff to be able to expand our offerings in this capacity to the community.
  • Our shelves are beginning to fill back up, but inconsistencies in the supply chain will probably be a reality for a while. Please take what you need and leave a little for someone else.

Thank you for the grace and understanding you’ve given all of us as we make the necessary adjustments. Thank you for your continued kindness and empathy for our staff. They are true heroes in our world right now. Working at a grocery store and providing good food for the community has always been important to me. Many others are now realizing the importance of our role in these challenging times. Please let them know (from 6 feet away) the next time you cross paths with one of these rock stars.

The customer experience, while still a high priority, has begun to look a little different at times at the St. Peter Food Co-op as we quickly enact changes to prioritize your safety and ours. You might get your questions answered from a safe distance of six feet. There may be lines at the registers, especially as people maintain a safe distance from one another, and during short staffed times. We may be out of some of your favorite products. Thank you for your patience, understanding, and continued trust. Please contact me at any time with questions, concerns, or suggestions.

Cooperatively,
Erik Larson

General Manager
St. Peter Food Co-op
507-934-4880
[email protected]


March 17, 2020

The pandemic in our country is causing life in general to change very rapidly at our store, in our community, and around the globe. The safety of our customers and employees remains the number one priority for the St. Peter Food Co-op. This situation is moving and changing very quickly, and we’re monitoring it continuously to ensure safety throughout our organization. We are using resources from the Food Marketing Institute and National Co-op Grocers. We’re also monitoring information from the CDC, and national, state, and local health authorities as it becomes available. We are working closely with our distribution partners to monitor changes in the supply chain as they arise. As things move and change during this pandemic, we will continue to keep everyone updated through our social media channels and on our website.

Grocery stores have an enormously important role during a pandemic. It is a responsibility that the St. Peter Food Co-op staff and I take very seriously. It is our intention to continuously provide safe food for our community in this uncertain time.

Here are the steps we’ve taken to ensure the safety of customers and staff at the St. Peter Food Co-op:

  • We have extra cleaning and sanitation protocols in place to maintain our already high level of food safety in all areas of the store.
  • We have extra disinfecting wipes available for customer use throughout the store, and we have a hands-free handwashing sink available for customer use.
  • We have discontinued all sampling, and removed testers from the Wellness department.
  • We have closed the self-service hot bar, salad bar and soup, though some services are available full service behind the deli counter.
  • We have wrapped all bakery offerings. We have removed all reusable plates, mugs, and silverware for now and are not allowing reusable containers from home at this time.
  • We have closed our seating area.
  • We have cancelled all classes for now.
  • Employees have been instructed to stay home if they are feeling ill.

We’re all in this together. Here are some ways you can help:

Stay home if you’re sick.

We currently do not have systems in place to offer online shopping or delivery. Send a well friend to do your shopping. Or, call or email the store and we’ll figure something out. We’re here to help, and we need a healthy staff to continue to do so.

Please be patient and empathetic with our staff.

They have all worked so incredibly hard during the last week or so. A few kind words and understanding can go a long way to making a co-op employee’s day.

Shop during slower times.

The co-op is open from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. We’re usually busiest between 11:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Avoiding groups is the best way to slow the spread of COVID-19, so choosing less crowded times to shop, if you are able, will be good for everybody.

Take what you need.

We haven’t imposed any limits on quantities of anything, and we would prefer not to. We want to be able to provide our products to as many people as need them. Consider leaving a few rolls for the next customer if you can.

Thank you for your continued trust. Please feel free to contact me at any time by calling the store at 507-934-4880, or by email at [email protected] 

Thank you,
Erik Larson
General Manager
St. Peter Food Co-op


March 16, 2020

In order to protect all of our shoppers, we are implementing some changes to the Co-op Deli starting immediately. Please note that further changes could take place at any time—we’ll be sure to keep you in the loop.

– The Hot Bar, soup bar, and salad bars are now closed. We will serve 2-3 hot entrees and two hot soups each day from behind the counter. Pre-made, packaged green salads, and additional entrees will be available to grab and go in a day or two.

-We have discontinued the use of ceramic plates, mugs, and metal silverware. To-go containers and disposable silverware will be used exclusively for now.

– Our coffee and bakery case will remain, but we are taking extra care to sanitize constantly.

We will evaluate procedures and protocol daily to ensure both customer and employee safety. Thank you for your patience during this transition and for your support of locally-owned businesses like the Co-op!


March 12, 2020

Everyone is aware of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and it is affecting most of us in some way or another already. At this time, the safety of our customers and employees is the number one priority for the St. Peter Food Co-op. This situation is moving and changing very quickly, and we’re monitoring it continuously to ensure safety throughout our organization. We are using resources from the Food Marketing Institute and National Co-op Grocers. We’re also monitoring information from the CDC, and national, state, and local health authorities as it becomes available. We will also be working closely with our distribution partners to monitor changes in the supply chain if they should arise. As things move and change during this pandemic, we will keep everyone updated through our social media channels and on our website.

We have taken extra steps in recent days to ensure the safety of our customers and staff.

  • We have extra cleaning and sanitation protocols in place to maintain our already high level of food safety in all areas of the store.
  • We have extra disinfecting wipes available for customer use throughout the store, and we have a hands-free handwashing sink available for customer use in our seating area.
  • We have discontinued passive sampling for now.
  • Employees have been instructed to stay home if they are feeling ill.

Thank you for your continued trust during this time. Please feel free to contact me at any time by calling the store at 507-934-4880, or by email at [email protected].

Thank you,

Erik Larson
General Manager
St. Peter Food Co-op

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