or over 40 years Tom’s of Maine has made contributing to positive social and environmental change a core value. And we are incredibly thankful for the efforts of retailers and customers who support us in these efforts, and undertake goodness efforts of their own. This week we’re featuring one of our retailers to thank them for their continued support, and commitment to goodness.
Meet Raquel Dadomo, Brand Manager for Austin’s Wheatsville Food Co-op.
Tell us about Wheatsville Food Co-op.
We are located deep in the heart of Austin, TX – literally, as our county is heart-shaped! We are the only food co-op in the state and have been a natural grocer since our founding in 1976. We have 11,000 fully invested members of the co-op and are still growing strong! Our doors are open to anyone who wants to shop with us, regardless of membership.
What is your position at Wheatsville Food Co-op?
I am the Brand Manager for Wheatsville Food Co-op and am in charge of marketing and outreach. I am the outward voice of the co-op and LOVE talking about all the great things we do here! I have been working in natural foods stores since 1996 and it’s been amazing and wonderful to see how mainstream so many products and ideas about food and health have become.
What do you think is responsible for your store’s success?
Our success is a direct result of a dedicated group of 11,000 co-op owners and a friendly, knowledgeable staff of 135 people (and growing). People know that we are committed to bringing them the highest quality natural and local products and that we happily cater to many different lifestyles and diets.
We are also successful because we get support from our neighbors in the community who shop local business. By spending their dollars here we are able to in turn support more local business. Austin’s motto is “Keep Austin Weird” due to the lack of chain stores and proliferation of independent businesses. We’ve even got thriving record stores! …..RECORDS! It’s truly amazing.
What is the ‘natural community’ like in Texas?
The natural community here in Austin encompasses just about everyone. Even when the temperature is over 100 for six months in a row people still run, bike, hike, row and enjoy all of our wonderful parks! The folks down here are free thinkers, independent, thoughtful, creative and smart. They are committed to both social change and gentile hospitality. Just look at some of the people Austin holds dear – Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Ann Richards and Molly Ivans and Lance Armstrong! We like beer, BBQ (vegan and the meat kind), good music and really just enjoying life as it comes.
What kinds of goodness initiatives does your store do on a regular basis?
As a co-op we are here for our community. We give back by being a successful natural foods grocer for our owners, which in turn allows us to donate to many local non-profits. Those non-profits are then able to support our community. It’s a nice cycle!
We are able to support one local non-profit per month through donation drives, outreach events and awareness campaigns. Generally we have supported groups like food banks, bike advocacy groups, animal welfare and sustainable food efforts.
Which Tom’s of Maine product sells best at Wheatsville Food Co-op?
Our best selling product is the Whole Care toothpaste. We carry lots of different kinds of toothpaste, but for an overall product that works well, Tom’s fits the bill perfectly for most people. We also get lots of new shoppers, college students and people trying to convert other parts of their lifestyle to natural products. We find that Tom’s is a brand people are comfortable with and can trust.
What is your personal favorite Tom’s of Maine product?
I have a three year old so Silly Strawberry toothpasteis an absolute MUST HAVE. Natural flavors, no dyes – he loves it. And being from Boston, I can’t deny the fact that I love the Spearmint Ice Wicked Fresh toothpaste. I mean, just seeing “wicked fresh” on my sink in the bathroom makes me happy.