Concern For Community

The Grain Train exists to inspire our community to make well informed health choices for both people and planet.

Today, the Global Ends visioned by our Board of Directors takes on a little different meaning than just the food we sell. You may have seen our No Mask, No Entry, No Exemption policy. We do not make this decision lightly, as we know there is much division in our communities and in the country around mask wearing. We also know that there are individuals who are not medically able to wear masks. The bottom line for us is that we are committed to the safety of our staff and the customers in our stores, and at this time everyone wearing a mask when inside the stores is the highest level of safety we know.

We sincerely care about each and every staff person, customer, and community member. Concern for Community is one of the 7 Cooperative Principles we follow as a Natural Foods Cooperative. Today, requiring masks and social distancing in the Grain Train is one way we are putting this principle into action.

We know that not everyone is able to wear a mask and we are committed to serving these customers. We would love to help anyone get set up with our Curbside Program. We have waived any fees associated with this program so there is no extra cost for us to do your shopping. We have added the option of paying online so you don’t even have to sign for your order when you get here. We want this to be an easy, contactless option.

For us, this policy isn’t because we have to, it is because we think it is the right thing to do for our staff and customers—the right thing to do for our community. Our intention is not to discriminate or say who is right or wrong, it is simply a safety measure during a global pandemic. Thank you for being a part of the Grain Train community. We are so grateful for your business and understanding. This policy is just another way we can care for one another.

See you at the stores, masks on or curbside! 

July 16, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

It's July!

 

It's the peak of summer here in Northern Michigan. The lakes are getting warmer, we are seeing more and more of our summer friends coming to visit, and the forecast is sunny and HOT for days to come. There is a lot to celebrate this holiday weekend. This year we all are celebrating a little differently with the health of each other, our communities, and humanity in the forefront of our minds. First off, we are here for whatever your 4th of July celebrations look like this year. You can always take a peek online to check out our selection at the Petoskey store. You have the option of shopping in our stores or you can use our new curbside service. Just order online and pick up curbside. Order by 8 PM to pick up your order the following day.

When coming to the stores, please remember to bring your mask. We are upholding a no mask/no entry policy. Those medically unable to wear a mask are an exception, though in this case we would be more than happy to shop for you. We also are continuing to limit the number of shoppers in the stores to make social distancing possible. We monitor this at the door, so if we are not there asking you to wait, come on in. We appreciate your mindfulness to maintain a 6-ft. distance from other customers and staff. As the COVID-19 virus is on the rise again throughout the country, we continue to uphold all of our practices to keep staff and shoppers safe. Thank you for your patience and compliance.

Our 4th of July hours are 8 AM - 6 PM in Petoskey and 9 AM - 5 PM in Boyne City. Both stores will be open regular hours on the rest of the weekend. We also have senior and immune compromised hours now on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays in Petoskey from 8 AM - 9 AM, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays in Boyne City from 9 AM - 10 AM.

 

On this holiday weekend with celebrations taking place around freedom and independence, social justice and humanitarian rights remain at the forefront of many of our minds and conversations. Here are a couple of local events that might be of interest. You can virtually stop by the Skill Swap brought to you by Crosshatch and Title Track. This Saturday’s program is Decolonizing Our Thoughtlife from 11 AM - 12:30 PM. You can find it here on Earthwork Harvest Gathering’s Facebook page.

Another event taking place on Saturday, July 4th at 11 AM, at the corner of US 31 and Mitchell St.—which has become known as the People’s Corner—is a sit-in with social distancing and mask wearing observed. Anishnaabe jingle dancers and drummers will gather to perform a community healing dance specifically focused on racial equality and the BLM movement. More information here. Though these are not Grain Train affiliated events, the Grain Train stands with organizations and people who strive for a more just and equitable world. However you are celebrating, we wish you safety and a weekend of good food! Stop by and see us or place an order online. We look forward to seeing you at the store or curbside! Happy 4th!
July 01, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

GRAIN TRAIN CURBSIDE

It sure is exciting to have our Grain Train Curbside program up and running! You can now shop online for your favorite Grain Train goods and pick them up curbside at the Petoskey store. If you haven’t checked it out, here it is. We know you've been waiting for this program and we thank you for your patience as we worked to make it happen. Many of you who reached out to us early on about a curbside program became our test team. Thank you to everyone who helped us with that. We sure hope you enjoy this service. It is here to stay!

When the pandemic hit our area in March, our Boyne City store was able to quickly offer a grassroots curbside program that they are still operating today. In Petoskey, we are just big enough that adding this program too quickly would have added too much stress on our team who were working hard to keep the doors open with safety and sanitization as our main priority. We knew that we wanted our Curbside program here for the long run as we worked towards that end. The results of that work is Grain Train Curbside.

One of our new realities is that we don't have as many staff working on the sales floor during open hours. This is so you can safely shop and maintain a safe distance from your fellow shoppers and staff. We knew that having an online marketplace was going to be an important part of our Curbside program. If you want to know if a product is in stock, you can check on the website. That goes for customers who are coming in to the store, too. If you are coming from out of town and want to know if your favorite product is in stock, just check our website before you come. Currently, we just don’t have the same capacity to answer the phone and check on products during open hours as we did in the past, so we are working hard to make sure that the answers are clear for you to find.


Grain Train Curbside is open to everyone, just like shopping in our stores. Being a member is not required. Here are a few other things you need to know:

  • Grain Train Curbside orders are picked up at the Petoskey store only.
  • Orders placed by 8 PM will be ready for next day pick-up.
  • Pick-up days and times are Tuesday through Saturday between 9:00 AM and 7:00 PM. You choose your day and time when you place your order.
  • For now, payment will be taken at your vehicle at time of pickup. We are working on taking online payment.


So, please check it out. Follow the instructions here to create an account, read the FAQ page here, and place your first order! Grain Train Curbside is just one more way we are Making a Difference One Bite at a Time. We ask for your help in utilizing the FAQ and online platform to answer some of the questions we would have gladly answered in person just a few short months ago. We move forward together with the health and safety of all as our priority.

Until next time, see you at the stores…or curbside! 

June 18, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

A New Day

It's June, the Strawberry Moon. The first full moon in June will be here Friday. Many of us in the area wait to put our more delicate plants in our gardens until this week. The leaves have come out and we have had our first hot days to remind us what the coming months will feel like. 

It is so nice to see faces we have not seen since last summer. We know that coming into our stores is a little bit different this year. Our state continues to open up with the safety of all as the number one priority, and we mirror this priority. We continue to require face masks while inside the stores. Thank you for remembering this when you come to shop with us. We are also continuing to monitor the number of customers in our stores and will let you know if you need to wait outside for a few moments. We know this all takes a little getting used to and we thank you for your patience and understanding. 

Today our customer service looks a little different, too. We have a night crew stocking the store after hours so that more of you can be in shopping during the day and still be able to maintain social distance. Know that we are still here working hard to serve you, it's just that our service has shifted to fit into the world we find ourselves in today. You will meet our door greeters who are there to inform you of anything you need to know to make sure your shopping experience is a safe one. As always, your favorite cashiers are here and ready to process your order. As is the case with so many things, customer service is still very important to us—it just looks a little different today. 

We are so close to being able to share our new online curbside platform with you. We have been testing this program over the last few weeks. Thank you to all that have tested this program with us. Your patience as we ironed out the best path forward has been wonderful. Look for a reveal in the very near future! 

Though our world is a fractured one, we continue to see a current of hope running throughout. Community has never been more important than it is today and we thank you for being a part of the Grain Train community. We also thank you for allowing us to be a part of yours. We are getting through these times together, one step at a time. Keep on taking care of one another and we will see you in the stores.

June 02, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

Looking Forward

We look forward to saying hello to all of our downtown neighbors as they reopen their restaurants, bars, and stores this holiday weekend! As an essential business that has remained open during the duration of the pandemic, we know how much thought and intention each one of our neighbors will put into ensuring their business is safe for staff and customers alike. We hope you will extend the same courtesy and patience to each of them as you have to us. It’s been a couple of months since we have had significant traffic in our downtowns, and this weekend is likely to have some learning curves for us all.

How does this holiday weekend look for us at the Grain Train? We are open all weekend so stop by and see us! To give our staff a much deserved break on Memorial Day, however, we will be taking the day off and both stores will be closed on Monday, May 25. We'll be back open at 8 AM in Petoskey and 9 AM in Boyne City on Tuesday, May 26.

 

As you see, both Petoskey and Boyne City have new expanded hours. Boyne City has added from 9-10 AM on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a senior and immune compromised shopping hour. Petoskey will continue to offer an hour each day, 8-9 AM, to these customers.

We are excited that we now have a third register safety open at the Petoskey store. We are working on permanent plexiglass at the registers as we do not see this precaution as something that will go away anytime soon. We are also keeping in place our sanitization efforts and will continue to have a door greeter monitoring the number of customers in the store. We are committed to being a safe place for our customers and staff for the long run. Per the Governor's order, we continue to require that face masks be worn when inside our stores. We know that these practices ask all of us to slow down and be mindful of one another, and we thank you for doing this. It is how we each care for each other.

With restaurants opening this weekend, you are likely wondering about the Market Cafe. Currently, we are in a wait-and-see mode and have no plans to open the Cafe this Friday in relation to the Governor's reopening plan. We will keep you updated as we have more information about the Cafe.

We look forward to seeing you and hope we all continue to support one another in a way that keeps our communities safe. We hope you enjoy this holiday weekend. Here are some tasty Memorial Day recipes to get your mouth watering and your shopping list prepared! This weekend, and always, we give thanks to those who have given their lives while protecting our country.

See you at the stores! 

May 20, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

THE LONG RUN

It feels so good to be into a new month. One with flowers blooming, wild leeks galore, trilliums just peeking out to say hello and, dare we hope, morel mushrooms coming in abundance. As summer gets closer, it seems like there is a quiver of excitement growing in all of us to get out of our houses and reconnect with life. We are finding our way with social distancing and mask-wearing—all of it becoming a part of the norm as much as it can be. We are all moving forward despite not knowing what is coming next.

We are seeing some of our summer customers returning at the same time as more businesses are opening up with precautionary measures in place for the safety of their staff and customers alike. At the Grain Train, we are making sure that when you come into our stores, safety is still the number one priority. We continue to ask you to remember that wearing your face mask while in the store and waiting as we keep our customer counts to a number that allows for social distancing, is an act of kindness for the whole community. We know that upholding a limit on the number of customers in the store slows things down and that this will become even more apparent as summer gets closer. We are working every day to find a safe way to open another register and other measures that can help the flow of customers in the Petoskey store. We are also working to supply more Grab and Go meal options in the Deli.

One thing that has been a guiding factor for us at the Grain Train is that we are in this for the long run. Next year will be our 50th year as a Natural Foods Cooperative. Everything we are doing today is for the safety of our staff, customers, and the future of the Grain Train. We have heard many thanks for our proactive measures during this pandemic. Those are going to be around as long as they are necessary and many will become a part of the future.

Currently, we are hard at work on developing a curbside program in Petoskey that, again, is focused on the long run. When we roll it out, we want to make sure that it is ready to meet your needs. The work we have put into this program is to not only help with social distancing and to keep our staff and customers safe, but it is also for our customers of the future. We know that time will always be important to you and with this service we hope we put a little more time on your clocks as we shop for you. We can’t wait to announce this program! Thank you for your patience in its development.

Things might be different, hard and uncertain, but we are finding our way right along with you and we will continue to be your community-owned grocery store. See you at the stores! 

 

May 06, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

MAY DAY

This Friday, May 1st, is halfway between the spring equinox and summer solstice. For some, this day is known as May Day or Beltane and is celebrated by leaving flowers on their neighbors' doors and other activities to welcome the season. Right now the weather and seasons parallel life. As we waiver between the cool days of early spring and the warm days of summer, we are also navigating our way between the uncertainties of this pandemic and finding a new normal.

Summer is coming and how that plays out for us here in Northern Michigan is still unknown. What we do know is that we are going to be here for you with the foods you depend on us for. We continue to have a full Grab and Go case at the Petoskey store for those of you who are looking for heat and eat options. We also continue to offer packaged hot soup daily at the Petoskey store and also have our Grab and Go and Freezer sections stocked with soup to-go from the Deli. We continue to receive regular shipments and we are taking extra measures to have the rice, broth, and flour you need. With the local growing season kicking off, you will start to see expanded local offerings as they become available. 

We are and will continue to take social distancing and sanitization very seriously. A mask is required while inside our stores for the safety of all and per our governor’s order. Thank you for waiting outside when we are at capacity inside. We will be at the door letting you know if we need you to wait a few minutes until others have left. It is a gift you give to our staff and each other when you wait outside 6-feet apart. We know that all of this takes time and that a quick trip into the store isn’t what it once was, but we are all finding our way. We still have senior and immune-compromised hours from 9-10 AM daily and, if you are looking for a less congested time to shop, 6-8 PM might be something to consider. 

Thank you for your patronage and the kind words of support of our team that you have been sharing with us. It might be fun on Friday to decorate your windows with flowers to say Happy May Day to your friends and neighbors. Or maybe a day out in the garden or the yard is just what you need to welcome a new month. We will be here with open doors should you be coming to see us. As always, it is an honor to serve you and we look forward to your next visit. 

April 29, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

EARTH DAY

April 22nd is the 50th Celebration of Earth Day. We always think of this as a good time to reflect on the ways that we try to be stewards of the earth in our day-to-day practices. This Earth Day, we are thinking even more globally as so many of us live an increasing local life in the present moment. These are unprecedented times and while we look at the ways we care for the planet in our daily business life, it is hard not to consider the bigger picture.

Around the globe we are paused. We continue to hear about a mountain range or skyline that has come back into view as emissions are reduced as a result of our global sheltering in place. This COVID-19 virus is not something we would ever choose and we certainly do not welcome nor celebrate it. The lives being lost and the trauma endured are real and devastating. Yet, there are some moments of calm in the pause for us as individuals and for the entire planet as well. As we start to think about what life is going to look like as we ease back into whatever our new normal is, the thought of how we can take anything learned from this pause into the future sits with many of us. 

Though this week has been a chilly one here in northern Michigan, we know that getting your hands in the earth is on a lot of your minds. Bear Creek Organic Farm’s Annual Plant Sale will happen in May with social distancing in the forefront. They, and many of our other local farmers, hardware, and feed stores have what you need to get your soil ready in the meantime. We thought you might like this article, All About Soil, to give you some ideas. After all, Earth Day starts at home

Waste is another thing that comes to mind when we reflect on Earth Day. Waste is one that we think about everyday in all we do. We are so lucky to be located in Emmet county, home of Emmet County Recycling, Composting and Waste Disposal. They make living the motto Earth Day, Every Day easy peasy! In 2018, Grain Train Petoskey recycled over 1,000 cubic yards of cardboard. We also diverted over 24,000 pounds of food waste that was converted into compost at Emmet County Recycling, and another 50,000 pounds went to local farmers to feed their livestock. We donated 6 tons of blemished produce to local food pantries. We know that current recycling numbers are similar as we continue to work towards reducing waste each year. We like to reflect on this around Earth Day, but make sure we are living it every day! Check out this article on how you can create less food waste at home

We’d love to hear how your celebrate Earth Day, every day! Stop by our Facebook page and tell us all about it! Make sure that you tune into the Virtual 50th Celebration of Earth Day that our community has been hard at work planning. We wish you and your family all the best and look forward to seeing you at the stores! 

April 22, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

Together

Spring is undeniably here. The days are getting longer, the birds are singing, and the pull to be outdoors grows stronger by the minute. More sunshine and warmer days bring with them a very welcomed comfort and familiarity. Yet there is the reality that we are sheltering in place with a world of uncertainty outside our homes. As we venture out for necessities or essential work, that uncertainty tends to grow. All of us are in this together from wherever we are. At the Grain Train we are doing our best to ease that uncertainty while you are in our stores.


We know that everything we have put in place for the safety of our staff and the community also has its challenges attached. We want to THANK YOU for understanding that the health of all has to come before convenience at this time.

Honoring senior hours and restricted numbers of customers is a gift you are giving to your fellow community members and our staff, thank you. Your mindfulness about how close you are to another person while shopping is an act of kindness. Your willingness to pay with a credit card when you are able is appreciated. You recently received an update from us asking you to wear a face covering while shopping and reminding you about the Health Department's Public Health Advisory about self-quarantine after return from an area to have known community spread of the virus. We thank you in advance for your compliance to these requests.  


We are excited to bring back a few staff members from the past, and doing so has allowed us to expand our store hours in Petoskey. It feels good to be able to offer evening hours again and to offer more hours in the day in general for people to shop. We hear you that you would like a curbside option in Petoskey. We are working hard to see if it is possible to offer. Thank you for your patience and understanding around this.

We could not be more proud of our teams working in the stores! Thank you to the community members who have been making our team members masks. Know that you express your gratitude to each staff member when you wait in line for them to sanitize between customers or wait for them to clear out of an aisle. Today, thank you and gratitude come in the form of slowing down and seeing one another and taking a pause.

Speaking of taking pause, we will be closed in both locations on Easter Sunday. Whatever this day means to you and your family, we hope you are able to celebrate in a way that brings you peace and joy. We open on Monday with our current regular hours and look forward to serving you.


“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members, a heart of grace and a soul generated by love.”


Thank you for being a part of the Grain Train community and for allowing us to be a part of yours.

April 10, 2020 by Mindy Taylor

Hope

 

 

Hello Grain Train Community! Here we are in a new month, a quarter of the way through 2020. It has not been an easy start to the year and we know that the road ahead will have many challenges. Despite that, we are taking the cue from Mother Nature who is coming out of her winter rest and bringing forth spring. We are moving forward despite uncertainty, and we are grateful you are here with us.


In unsettling times comes stress, worry, fear, and all of the faces they wear, but there is something else that grows out of each of us and weaves its ways through our communities when times are tense—HOPE. Hope can bring out the best in us and tie us together. It grows compassion and support between people. It inspires resources like the Emmet and Charlevoix Helping Hands Facebook pages where people are coming together to support one another. Hope nudges us to check in on our neighbors before we head to the store, or it pulls us towards joining one of the many online community gatherings like the weekly virtual Thursday night  Poetry in the Wild reading, brought to us by the Bellaire Public Library and Crosshatch. Even though we are physically distanced, there are many, many different ways to connect and foster hope.

For all of us at the Grain Train, hope manifests itself in doing everything we can to keep our stores open and continue to be that trusted source you rely on us to be. It also comes in looking forward. There is no denying spring is here. Easter is taking place next Sunday. For some, this is not a day they celebrate. Others will be gathering in their homes around screens for services that are near and dear to their hearts. Easter egg hunts will be a smaller family gathering—each of us finding ways to participate in life while sheltering in place. 

We thought you might like a few resources to look over while you are at home. You can find a number of activity sheets for kids right here if they are starting to fill all the coloring books in your house. We also thought you might like these tips on cooking with kids. For those of you ready to get your hands out in the dirt, check out this gardening with children piece, or this one on starting your own container garden.

There are not as many updates as to what is going on in the stores this week, but we do have a few we'd like to note:

  • We heard you when many asked that we still offer cash payment as an option. We began taking cash again on Sunday, March 29. Credit/debit is still our preferred method of payment but we saw the hardship that limiting cash was causing and we adjusted.
  • We are also transitioning away from packaged items on the Hot Bar to offering some of these items in the Grab and Go case as take-and-heat options.
  • In an act of hope, to better serve the community we are going to try to extend our hours in the Petoskey store, starting Monday, April 6. The new hours will be: 
    • Monday - Sunday 9 AM - 8 PM
    • Senior and Immune Compromised Hours will be 9 AM - 10 AM Daily 
    • Boyne City hours will remain the same.

Lastly, we know that our community is hurting with the recent loss of Larry Cummings. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends, and all of those who were touched by his life. “The closest bonds we ever know are bonds of grief. The deepest community one of sorrow.” -Cormac McCarthy

 

April 01, 2020 by Mindy Taylor