The Fundraising Contiunues

Clark Case
July 13, 2024

Our first week of local fundraising has gone well. We matched our challenge grants and have over $23,000 to add to the building fund. Thanks to all of you who brought in your generous donations to the store or donated at spotfund.com. It’s far from over, so if you haven’t had a chance to contribute don’t hesitate. We have started the construction with excavation and forming for concrete work beginning.

I’ve been involved with the Dixon Coop from the beginning. Way back in 2003 we were looking at a town without much of an economy. All of the stores and gas stations had closed. The bar had shut down and there were no restaurants open, with only one winery, the school and post office to find a job in Dixon. At that time we were getting a reputation as the center of organic farming in the north, and the Embudo Valley Library had recently purchased an important piece of land that included the old store building and Doc and Lydia Zellers’ old house. While the house was soon filled with books to become the community library, the store building was usually empty, used as a community center and teen center through the library. KLDK-LP radio station had an office in the corner of the building to organize the fundraising for an effort to get on the air by the end of 2005. Other than that, we had nowhere to buy a newspaper, let alone food. So a few of us got together and decided to put up a flyer on the Library bulletin board that said “Who wants to join a Coop?” We got sixty people to come to a meeting in the community center and formed a board that started organizing and figuring out how to run a small store in a small town. We started a Farmers’ Market that gave people a reason to come to the store to buy food even before it opened. We convinced the Library to rent us a little space in the community center after we got a start-up grant from the USDA and some generous donations of refrigerators from a local hero. From that small beginning, we have grown into something of a local institution. Little by little we have grown each year, adding more space and a deli, putting water into the building (it had none when we started, we built an out house!), and grew our sales to over one and a quarter million dollars a year. Meanwhile, others in town created a great restaurant, a brewery, a couple more wineries, expanded and built the Library, started the radio station, built a new fire station, and made Dixon the envy of every small town north of Santa Fe.

Now we have another challenge ahead of us. The store proved itself indispensable during the pandemic. We had built a safety net that kept us isolated from danger and provided the needed goods to sustain a community. We have grown enough that we need to build the capacity to continue our mission of bringing food to a rural food desert. That is what we are asking you to help us achieve: the capacity to serve the community to the best of our ability. Ask people in any nearby town if they wish they had a Coop like ours in their village and I guarantee everyone would say yes. We are lucky enough to have the opportunity to create something even better. At a time when most small stores are closing under the pressure of big box competition, we have recognized the importance of investing in ourselves. Most of us spent hundreds of dollars on our streaming services last year, and thousands on our phones and phone services. We’re now asking you to invest in your neighbors’ future. Let’s build something that we can be proud of. Thanks again, Clark 

Letter from the Manager

Clark Case
July 6, 2024

The joys of construction have begun! As I write this, a loud noise from a hammer drill on the outside of the office wall is tickling my eardrums, reminding me that some day we will have the space to actually let three people work in the office at once. That annoying noise means that some day we will have access to deliveries by pallets, and enough back stock space that I can order a pallet of something for a reduced price per item. But we need your help to make the store abetter place to shop. We have started a *Spotfund account to help us finish our fundraising needs and we are asking for your help to complete our project. Go tospotfund.com and search for BuildTheBackBetter and you will find our request. As we raise money from our members and community we are also applying for other grants that will give us the capacity to make the store bigger, better, and more efficient which helps to grow sales and lower prices. If you have questions about the building or how it will help our store, please talk to me. And the sooner you can contribute the sooner they will be able to stop this noise. Please, for the sake of our sanity, MAKE IT STOP!

Meanwhile, the summer is progressing with more local produce being sold at the store. The local fruits are starting to come in starting with cherries and apricots.I’m looking for peaches in the next few weeks, picked ripe and sold as quickly as they can be put out. We’ve been getting great greens and roots from Diamond SowGarden, Romero Farms and Luna Farm fresh every week. Matt Romero is bringing in some local broccoli now, too. Our tomatoes are from Alcalde, micro greens and mushrooms from Taos, and zucchini from Dixon. All of these are half price if you use EBT.

The Dixon Deli is open seven days a week and is starting to offer a few new items. We have a New Mexico Philly Cheese Steak (think added green chile) that has been popular, so come in and give it a try. The sandwiches are all made to order and hot off the grill, so check us out again, you won’t be disappointed.

Thanks for supporting the Coop with your generous contributions and your shopping dollars. Every dollar we receive gets put back into the store to benefit our community. We look forward to being able to better serve you. See you at theCoop, Clark

Fresh News from the Co-Op

Clark Case
July 6, 2024

There are a few bits of good news I would like to share with the shoppers of the Dixon Coop this week. First of all, we are staffed and trained in the Deli. It’s been a long time coming, but we can finally give you fresh made sandwiches for lunch seven days a week. We will make you any of our deli sandwiches fresh and made to order. Our breakfast burritos are available every morning by 8 a.m. as well, so come on in and get your favorites before they are gone.

The second piece of news is that our local produce has started to really come in for the season. We have incredibly fresh produce coming in from Romero Farms, Luna Farm and Diamond Sow Garden every week, as well as our usual bounty from Midori Acres of Taos, and Growing Opportunities in Alcalde. You can find the local goods in the first door of the refrigerated produce case, and all local produce is half price if you use your EBT card thanks to the New Mexico Farmers’ Market Association’s Double Up Food Bucks Program. Right now we are getting arugula, bok choy, salad greens, head lettuce, spinach, radishes, red scallions, kale, tomatoes, English cucumbers, micro greens, cilantro, and other delicious and farm fresh produce delivered throughout the week. It’s my favorite part of the job to receive such incredible product and sell it to people who appreciate how special it is for a store to have produce picked that morning.

The third update is about our building project. We will be starting in force next week, as soon as the contractor is available. We have updated our h-vac, refrigeration and freezer section to allow the closets behind the store to be taken down so we can start the ground work. Full steam ahead!

All three of these bits of good news are hopeful reminders that we are lucky to live in a place that will support a locally owned and controlled grocery. This fact should not be taken for granted, our margin is so slim that even slight adjustments to income can have significant effects on our ability to remain in the black. This year our sales are down 6% so far because people are getting used to driving out of town for their groceries. We need you back. I’m looking for ways to make you shop here more, like garden fresh produce and a reboot of deli service and quality. Another way to support is to order in bulk because it saves you substantial amounts of money while you support one of the last independent grocery stores in small-town America. I know we can’t be everything to everyone and you might have to get some of your groceries elsewhere, but use us as best you can so we can be around to bring you good food for years to come. Hope to see you soon at the Coop,

Clark

"Edible" Award Nominations

Jennifer Goyette
April 29, 2024

Greetings fellow Dixon Cooperative Market community members,

This is just a short note to announce that the co-op has been nominated for a Local Hero Award from Edible! It is an honor to be considered, and we deeply appreciate the recognition of how hard the co-op works to stabilize our local food economy.

We are not the only local businesses nominated! Old Gem Farm and Sugar Nymphs Bistro are also up for recognition.

Please vote and share some love for your hard working neighbors. Voting closes May 6th.

The Dixon Cooperative Market Board of Directors

https://www.ediblenm.com/local-hero-awards/

Fresh Co-Op Initiatives

Clark Case
February 22, 2024

There are a couple of new initiatives the Coop is pursuing this year that we hope will help the people who need a boost in their nutrition and pocketbook. The first one is our new fund that will help the people who are most in need of support to feed themselves and their families. The Convite Fund has been established through contributions of concerned Coop members to help people who might find themselves in immediate need of food but without the means to pay for it. We don’t think anyone in our community should be suffering from hunger. If you find yourself in need, please ask any of the managers on duty and we can get you some good and nutritious food immediately, free of charge. This fund doesn’t pay for candy or tobacco products, but you will walk out of the store with enough healthy food to get you and your family through a tough time. If you would like to contribute to this fund you can also talk to one of the managers and we can help you add to the fund.

The other effort we are making is to create more locally grown produce available here at the store. All of the people who shop at the Coop will benefit from this, and anyone who uses EBT can take advantage of the Double Up Food Bucks program that gives you half price on all local produce when you use your EBT. We are reaching out to all growers in the area so we can be a daily farmers’ market during the growing months. If you grow food or would like to grow food for the Coop, we will soon be holding a meeting that will help us coordinate our needs with those of you who are planning your planting schedule. Currently, we buy most of our produce from an organic distribution company in California, but I would much prefer to buy local products that are harvested within a couple of days, if not hours, of having them available at the store. It also reduces the environmental impact if we are delivering items from Apodaca instead of the Central Valley of California. And best of all for the local economy, the money we spend in Dixon stays in Dixon. Look for an announcement in the coming week about our organizing meeting in early March to establish how we optimize our local purchasing.

And in the meantime, what’s left of last year’s seeds are 40% off right now, and our new seed have arrived. Get yours today, and I hope to see you soon at the Coop.

The Annual Meeting is this weekend!

Clark Case
January 24, 2024

The annual members’ meeting of the Dixon Cooperative Market will take place on Saturday, January 27th, at 1:00 pm at the Embudo Valley Library. All members are welcome to attend in person, and a Zoom invitation is available by contacting Board President Nancy Levit by email at nancy@dixonmarket.com. The agenda includes reports from the board president and treasurer, as well as a report from the manager. Public input will also be included. Finally, election results for new board members will be announced. Please come to the store to vote, or get your ballot in the mail so we receive it by Saturday.

The Coop exists to provide a wide variety of food and necessities to the people who live in and near the Embudo Valley. While we are a for-profit business, our goal is not to make a profit beyond what we need to operate. If we make a large profit, we are not doing our members any favor because it means we are charging them more than we need. In 2023 we were less than .0025% off of our sales to break exactly even. Not bad, considering we did over $1.3 million in sales. If you like statistics like that, come to the meeting for a whole lot more.

The biggest challenge we have here at the Coop is keeping prices down. Because of our remoteness and scale of our volume of sales we struggle to keep our cost of goods at a rate that could compete with bigger stores in more populated areas. As our volume increases, our gross profit margin can be decreased which brings prices down a bit. Our clientele is limited to those who live here and the tourist trade that builds in the summer and dwindles in the late winter months. That is why it is important to the health of the Coop to get the business, especially in these months, of those of us who live here. Without enough volume of sales, we will only break even with higher margins of what we sell. We don’t like raising prices any more than you like paying them.

Another challenge is convincing people to take advantage of the benefits of membership. Did you know that if you took your discount on one purchase of $12.50 each month you would pay for your membership? I recommend taking the discount on purchases of $125 or more once a month and saving ten times the cost of your membership for the year. Being a member also allows you savings on bulk orders through our buying club. We would love to help you find lower food costs by taking advantage of the buying club and member discounts. I you’re not a member, join us. If you are already a member, take your discount and check out the buying club. I hope to see you soon at the Coop,

–Clark

January News from the Coop

Clark Case
January 3, 2024

Happy New Year from all of us at the Coop. We’re looking forward to providing you with good food in the year to come, and hope the addition that we are starting will offer an opportunity to give you better service and selection. It’s going to be a busy and exciting year here, full of changes and improvements, and I can’t wait to see what the year holds for our little store and our greater community.

If you are interested in buying a portion of a steer from Vaquero Beef, let me know. We should be receiving it in the next couple of weeks, and I would be willing to sell it at our buying club prices if you would like as little as 1/8th of the beast. Pricing and total weight will depend on the finished product that Joe delivers to us, but if you are interested, talk to me here at the store so I can reserve you a share of it. You would get ground beef, steak, roast and ribs if you opt in, and at a discount of about 20% off of our shelf pricing. This is grass fed and finished meat that roams in the neighboring hills for its happy life. It’s lean and local, the best meat you can find.

The Dixon Deli is still making fresh pizzas and sandwiches to order, and we try to have sandwiches available in the hot case for you to grab and go. Javier has been making some specialty burritos as well as soups and stews, so stop in and check out what is available as a special each day. Specialty cheeses and olives are available in the cold case by the Deli as well as our cold sandwiches and salsa and guac made here in the kitchen. And after selling over 37,000 breakfast burritos we’ve figured out how to make them so you’ll want one every day. Only about 25 lucky people get them every day, so get in early for yours.

January and February are our slowest months, and we could use all the business we can get in the coldest part of the year. Please consider skipping that trip through the canyon and keeping your money in town. The impact of shopping local is huge. Don’t give your hard earned money to the richest corporations in the world like Amazon and Walmart, and now that Krogers and Albertsons are merging they will be able to squeeze us little guys out even easier unless the consumers make the decision to support the businesses that create local economies. Thanks for your business, and I hope to see you soon at the Coop.

December News

Clark Case
December 15, 2023

Christmas is right around the corner and so we’ve bumped up our toy selection here at the Coop. If you think Santa might need a little help you can check out our selection on the end cap by the dairy refrigerator. The kids who have come in lately seem to naturally gravitate to that section, like a beacon for all of those kids on the nice list. For the adults on the list, we always have a selection of locally made arts and crafts, books, cards and sweets that can make anyone feel special. If you have any special needs for the Holiday dinners, let us know as soon as you can and we can get something ordered for you. And don’t miss Santa’s visit to the Coop on Saturday the 16th from 11 am to 3 pm on the front porch. He’s warming up for his sled ride in the Electric Light Parade later that night, but you can come and get the kids’ pictures with him here in the daylight.

We really encourage all of our supporters to utilize the Coop as much as you can for your holiday food needs. This is a make or break time of year for small stores, and the Coop is no exception. We depend on your patronage to continue to stay open, and the numbers in December, January and February are always the hardest to crunch as our sales slump and our bills increase. If you are someone who appreciates the fact that Dixon has a store that carries such a wide variety of good products, then don’t take it for granted that it operates without your patronage. I have always been interested in the number of dollars spent in this town on food. With around seven hundred households in the ten mile radius around the store, and an average monthly household expenditure of around $1000 for a family of four, we spend a lot of money collectively on the food we eat. The Coop’s purpose is to create a situation where we can all come together to build an economic advantage for its members, even beyond the convenience that it offers, but that becomes most advantageous only when our purchasing is maximized. If we all shopped here, we would be able to optimize pricing and selection. In the meantime, come in and use your member discount and take advantage of the buying club where you get huge discounts on bulk buying, even on items we don’t normally carry. Talk to any of us in the office and we’ll help you start saving money by shopping at the Coop.

Whether you have visitors or not coming in for the holidays, the Dixon Deli is ready to help you. We are making sandwiches to order as well as having a selection for grab and go if you don’t want to wait. You can find more items available, including chicharron burritos, green chile stew and soon you can get tamales and posolé made here in our kitchen. That should help you get into the Christmas spirit.

Hope to see you soon at the Coop, Clark

Big news from the Co-Op!

Clark Case
May 4, 2023

I would like to express a huge thank you and congratulations to all of you for voting in the Barclays Bank Small Biz Big Wins Contest. It was revealed today that thanks to over 15,000 votes for the DixonCooperative Market during the 10 day voting period we placed second and will be awarded $40,000 in a couple weeks! This money will help us fulfill our mission of bringing good food to good people in the Embudo Valley. The outpouring of support reinforces my belief that a small town needs a store, and the people who use it appreciate the service. Could you imagine Dixon without a store? Small towns all across America are losing their local grocery stores, and there is only one way you can stop it: SHOP HERE! Email support for the contest won us big bucks, but real economic support is what we need to continue our mission. The investment that the store makes in the goods we sell and the expense of selling those goods is a leap of faith in all of you who shop here. I ask you to continue to use the Coop as much as you can because our ability to survive depends on it.

All that being said, let’s celebrate the win. I invite all of you to comedown to the Coop on Monday, May 15, from noon to two pm to celebrate this community accomplishment. We will have a few refreshments, speeches and some music. I look forward to seeing all of the people who were committed to voting every day, and give my appreciation to all of you who shared our story with your friends and family outside of the valley. The outpouring of support from all corners of our service area was greatly appreciated, and we will continue to work to make your Coop a place you can rely on and be proud of. I hope to see you soon at theCoop, Clark

Great Opportunity for the Co-Op!

Clark Case
April 15, 2023

We have huge news! Barclay Bank has initiated a contest called “Small Business, Big Wins,” with a grand prize of $60,000. Of the 14,200 applicants, our Co-op has been selected as one of the ten finalists to qualify for the grand prize. As a top ten finalist we are assured of winning $5,000, but with your help we could win a larger cash prize.

Please vote once a day from today, April 1st through April 10th. Ask your family and friends to help, together we can win this award! The money will go a long way toward allowing the Co-op to improve the services we offer you.

It is quite an honor to be selected from so many small businesses nationwide; it reminds us that we are lucky to have this little store serving our small community. Let’s take this opportunity to show that our community supports the Co-op and the Co-op will in turn, fulfill its dream of improving our services to you.

This is a great opportunity for us and we would really appreciate your support!

Clark

Vote Here

Dixon Market Expansion: News and Updates!

Alex Amend
October 28, 2022

Dixon Market Expansion: News and Updates! 

The Dixon Co-op Board and Staff are currently planning for the first major expansion of the store in a number of years. Our goal is to increase our storage capacity for both shelf stable and fresh and frozen foods, allowing us to purchase in larger quantities and reduce the cost of goods sold. With the enlarged  space and increased refrigeration we will be able to better keep local fresh produce and bulk items for sale to the community, as well as to better supply the Picuris Travel Center. We will also make improvements to the delivery area to improve safety and efficiency. In summer of 2022, the Dixon Co-op was awarded a USDA HFFI grant worth $200,000 for the work. 

Board Members and Staff are currently discussing plans with local architects and builders about budgets and timelines. It may be that we need to raise more money to do the job, and we'll  let members know as we make progress.

Stay tuned to this page for updates. Please contact board members if you have questions or suggestions for this work. Please contact us especially if you have ideas for more funding opportunities! 

Thank you! 

- Dixon Co-Op Board of Directors

(enjoy the historical photos of expansions past)

Patio expansion 2013
...more Patio expansion
Taking down the center wall in 2012.
2012... just after the middle wall came down.

End of Summer Update

Clark Case
September 8, 2022

Have you been missing a good steak or roast lately? The fires this summer put a pinch on availability from our usual supplier of good local organic meat. I’m happy to announce that we’ll soon be getting a whole steer from Joe Romero at Vaquero Beef. You might have seen this cow feeding around the area, it’s a local. The challenge for us until we get our new storage facility is where we’re going to put all of that frozen beef, so if you are interested in a quarter steer let me know and we can work out a good price for you. It should be ready in about three weeks. I’m hoping to keep at least one quarter for the store so that leaves three to be sold. Each quarter will be around 125 lbs. and the pricing depends a bit on what the difference will be between the hanging weight and the finished processing weight, but will be around $6.50/lb. It comes cut and vacuum sealed into steaks, roasts, ribs, and ground beef. Let me know if you’re interested.

In other local issues, have the goat heads been putting a damper on your bike riding adventures? Well, we have a solution for that. Stan’s Tire Sealant is now available at the store. It puts Slime to shame. We have it by the quart or by the 2 oz. size for individual tires. It’s a liquid latex that you put in your tire or tube and it seals any small puncture so you can peddle to your heart’s delight. The people I know who use it swear by it. This year is a banner year for the devil’s weed but it doesn’t have to end your outdoor adventures.

One thing that has surprised me since working here is how many eggs people eat. We sell hundreds of cartons a month and most people want the local variety. It’s been tough keeping up this year again because of the effect of the fire since our two biggest suppliers of local eggs come over the hill from Mora. If you have chickens and more eggs than you can eat, we’ll buy any extras you have. Bring them by the store with a simple label containing your name and phone number and we can sell them to our hungry customers.

We will be open our regular hours all weekend, including Monday, for the Labor Day holiday. We open at 8 am and are here until 7pm every day of the week. Remember, the more you shop here, the better the local economy does. We appreciate your patronage and hope to see you soon here at the Coop.

Growing up Co-Op

by Clark Case
November 23, 2021

Welcome to the Dixon Cooperative Market’s new Website! Great thanks to Jeff Spicer and Spicer Digital for his help in getting this going. We hope you find it helpful and informative as you navigate our local food distribution effort.

The Coop is a community based food store that opened in 2006 in 500 square feet we rented from the Embudo Valley Library. We’ve grown to become an integral part of the Embudo Valley economy, providing over a million dollars worth of food to our over four hundred household members and all of the greater community. We employ over twenty locals and now operate out of our 1100 square foot building bringing a large selection of local and organic produce, grocery goods, local consignment items, and a popular deli that offers a menu of delicious sandwiches and pizzas all made in house.

The Coop is directed by a five member Board of Directors who are members of the Coop and represent our general membership in decision making and financial oversight. The Board is elected at the end of January, two members in even numbered years and three in odd. If you have been a member in good standing at the Coop for a full month before the election, you are eligible to run for the board. We have been blessed with many dedicated and talented board members in our history, each one bringing their expertise and enthusiasm to the operation. We are currently seeking applicants for the January 2022 election, consider throwing your hat in if you are a current member. We encourage diversity on our board. We would love to have our board and staff as diverse as the community it serves, therefore we encourage all community members to apply for board positions as well as job opportunities when they arise.

In the next year we hope so see some new exciting possibilities come to fruition. We are looking at building an addition in order to create adequate cold storage and back stock space. Our growth has required this expansion, we can only sell what we have in stock and our sales have gotten to the point we can’t keep enough in stock without more space to store it. We are currently applying for funding from community development grant opportunities to see this plan happen. Hopefully, in a couple years our new warehouse facility will be part of the backdrop of the Library’s new park and Community Center development. Another potential development in the store is our budding relationship with the Pueblo of Picuris. As they open up their new facility, they have asked us to partner with them to bring fresh food to the Peñasco Valley. We will be ordering and delivering a selection of our distributors’ goods to the new Travel Center on Highway 75 in Picuris. The facility has been put on hold due to Covid, but we are excited to have the opportunity to supply them with good whole food in the coming year.

I would like to extend a huge thank you to all of our shoppers for responding so positively to the changes that have occurred at the store in the last several months. The challenges that we have faced in the last couple years have created new ways that we work, shop and communicate, and I hope the Coop’s adaptations have helped the people in our little town better survive during the pandemic and the economic turmoil it has created. We have struggled to maintain a workforce that keeps our deli open seven days a week. At this point we are able to stay open, so keep trying to place your orders. As we keep adding the needed staff we will be better equipped to bring you the food you love. This year we have been concentrating on bringing good produce to shoppers. The selection of local produce this season was quite incredible, at one time more than 40 items in our produce section were grown within 25 miles of the store. Our local selection would compete with any store of any size in the area. Even out of season, we have been able to get a good selection of organic produce from a new supplier to us, Veritable Vegetable. The response from you has been exactly what we hoped. Keep shopping with us and we’ll keep bringing the food you need and want.

The above photo was taken by Linda Griffith in November of 2005... the store would've been open for a few months at this point. Sitting with our store's current manager and instigator are the Aby girls. One of whom now works at the store!