At Medford County Market in Medford, Wis., the more money that customers spend, the more money they make.
That’s because the store is part of the Medford Cooperative, which is owned by about 15,000 local consumers who get cash back each year based on their spending, in addition to reaping the benefits of their stock ownership.
“Our entire rewards program is really focused on this community-based model, where on an annual basis, we invite everyone into our grocery stores to come pick up their old-fashioned check for their annual cash back,” said Chris Piotrowski, CEO and general manager, Medford Cooperative.
That incentivized customer-ownership structure, which is reinforced by Medford’s holdings in agriculture, fuel, and multiple forms of retail, has been key to the company’s success.
Medford County Market, which measures about 60,000 square feet and employs about 120 workers, stands out for many of its offerings, including a strong produce department, a full-service meat counter, and award-winning bakery and an extensive natural and organic product assortment, which Piotrowski described as one of the largest in the state.
Its omnichannel approach to the market also keeps it on the cutting edge of food retailing in today’s environment, Piotrowski said.
The store launched its ecommerce operations, in partnership with tech provider eGrowcery, in October 2018. Since that time, overall sales growth at the store has increased by an average of 11% per year, and online sales have grown an average of 78%.
Customers have the option of ordering online for either pickup or delivery, the latter of which is expanding through the store’s partnership with DoorDash.
The retailer leverages its ecommerce platform to seamlessly link its service offerings, which include its custom bakery services and floral, and it recently began allowing pickup of alcoholic beverages ordered online.
It is in the process of implementing acceptance of SNAP benefits for customers who order online, for both pickup and delivery.
Medford County Market also leverages social media to help drive both online and in-store sales, helping reinforce the retailer’s omnichannel capabilities, he said. In addition, it uses email marketing to promote the parent company’s other businesses.
The company also has been a strong competitor in terms of attracting and retaining store talent, who Piotrowski credited for the store’s success. It distributes 5% of its profits each year to its workers, and recently increased its 401(k) contribution and enhanced its health insurance offerings.
The company’s diversified holdings also allow for cross-training and career development opportunities across the different businesses, Piotrowski said.
An additional perk for employees is that they can get paid to perform volunteer work with local charities. The company pays workers $50 for every four hours that an employee spends volunteering, up to $200 per year.
This feature is part of our 2023 "SN Independent Superstars" list: see more superstars here.