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Reserved for Hybrids

Supermarkets — regardless of size, venue or customer — have always done best when they connect to the communities they serve. That’s why it’s important for store managers and other higher-ups to get out of the store and stroll around the parking lot.

What will they see? Young Moms wrestling with kids’ seats; Moms-to-be waddling uncomfortably from the far end of the lot; a tired evening commuter trying to free a jammed-up cart from the corral.

Retailers who’ve taken a census of their “before” customers now have reserved store-front spots for Pregnant Moms (mind the pink lines) and families (extra wide spaces to accommodate sliding minivan doors). Others provide express check-out and prepared food service to those rush-hour cooks who need just a few last-minute things before dashing home.

So, I was intrigued to hear about the green version of this phenomenon at Seward Co-op in Minneapolis. The retailer’s new store (LEED Gold-certified, to boot) has carved out reserved parking for hybrid vehicles and bicycles. The lot itself is sloped to funnel about 90% of rain run-off into the landscaping.

Sustainability means allowing the outside elements to play a bigger role in taking care of inside environments. The same could be said of customer service — especially if your store attracts its share of green/wellness shoppers.