July 2021 Newsletter
In this month's newsletter:
  • A word from the General Manager
  • A word from the Board of Directors
  • Store Updates
  • Sweet & Savory Crepes Cooking Class & Meal Kit
  • Owner Programs
  • Common Ground History Corner
  • New Items
  • Local Food For All Mural
  • Round Up For Good
I am utilizing this month's newsletter to focus on one of the most important aspects of our Co-op, our staff. Our frontline employees, like others in the retail industry, have worked hard to keep feeding us over the past year and half of uncertainty and confusion. The reality is that retail and grocery are among the lower paid industries in this country. The majority of folks outside the industry do not understand why or how this can be. I get a lot of questions about it so I am going to attempt to explain the challenges of our industry and the financial struggles of small businesses such as ours.

As minimum wage increases, we want to make sure we can afford to raise all of our staff's pay and try to minimize the effect of wage compression. This carries a high price tag for a small business such as ours. The amount that our payroll will increase over the next three and half years will be more than we currently make. If we cannot increase our sales to cover our future higher labor costs then we will struggle.

Summer Is A Time For Growth
Summer is here and many of us are emerging from the COVID crisis with pride and gratitude for the Champaign County community that has risen to the many challenges of the past 16 months. While the danger of the pandemic is not over, the local vaccination rate and recent changes to the CDC guidelines has meant the easing of social restrictions that have kept many in the community from seeing each other. With the support of our owners, Common Ground is in a position to ride the wave of economic growth the news networks are predicting.

You’ll notice many creative changes being implemented on the floor as staff continue to find ways to improve the shopping experience at Common Ground. While sales growth is important for any business, at Common Ground it means we can continue to provide competitive compensation and attract the talented staff that make our store a community asset. 

Store Announcements
New Merch Available!

We've got new exclusive Common Ground Merch! Pick up one of our new reusable shopping bags and support your neighborhood grocery store!
Shop Online

Check out our huge online selection and place your order from home! Curbside is available for same-day
and next-day pick up.

Events & Programs

Savory Crepes Cooking Class & Meal Kit
Common Ground's Cooking Classes are back with an online class and Meal Kit! Learn how to make Sweet & Savory Crepes from the comfort of your own kitchen. Pre-order a meal kit that includes all the ingredients to make your delicious crepes and attend our live Zoom class taught by Co-op Instructor, Quentin on Sunday, July 18th from 4-6 pm.

Owner Referral Program

Help us broaden our amazing Co-op community to include more of your friends, family, and neighbors! Encourage them to become Co-op owners with our new Owner Referral & Rewards Program. Refer a new owner and you both receive $10 in Radish Rewards to be redeemed on in-store purchases. In order to receive the reward incentive, the new owner must pay their $60 equity payment in full and we will contact you when your rewards have been placed on your owner account.

Anyone can sign up to be an owner online or at the registers. For more information about Co-op, ownership visit our Ownership page.

Radish Rewards

Each time you use your owner number, you now accrue points with our new owner loyalty program, Radish Rewards!

What are Radish Rewards?
With Radish Rewards, owners can earn 1% back on their purchases. You earn 1 point per dollar spent and those points can be redeemed as cash off a Common Ground purchase! Owners must accrue 200 points, or $2.00 in rewards, before redemption. They add up fast, just ask our Changemakers about your points the next time you are checking out!

Common Ground History Corner
As you know, Common Ground has been around for almost 50 years! Our local Co-op has decades of history, and we dug up some artifacts that showcase our story. Beginning this month, we will be sharing wonderful gems from Common Ground's past. Let's kick it off with this flyer from the 90s! One Co-op owner shares why they love shopping at Common Ground.
Do you have old pictures, newsletters, or ads from Common Ground? Send them in to marketing@commonground.coop to have them featured in our next newsletter!
Local Produce Spotlight
It's officially summer and that means fresh, local produce! We do our best to keep our shelves stocked with local fruits & vegetables all year long, but summer is the time to shine. Stop in for local eats from Blue Moon Farm, Sola Gratia Farm, Brackett Farm, Cary's Garden of Eatin', & many more!
New Products
Seasonal Grab & Go Items
Caprese Salad
Simple, fresh & delicious. Fresh ciliegine mozzarella & grape tomatoes tossed with fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper.

$8.99 per pound
Italian Tortellini Salad
Romano & ricotta filled tortellini tossed with olives, fresh basil & veggies in a creamy dressing.

$8.99 per pound
New from Our Bakery
Lemon Poppy Zucchini Bread
This delicious vegan bread is perfect for breakfast or dessert. Light, fluffy, and just in time for summer.

$5.99 per loaf
Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake
Decadent vegan cake with fair trade chocolate and a peanut butter frosting! Treat yourself with a slice today.

~$3.99 per slice
Meat & Cheese
Organic Valley Grassmilk Cheddar Cheese
Beginning with unpasteurized milk from grassfed cows, this Grassmilk Raw Cheddar is aged a minimum of 60 days to develop its flavors. This is usually a white cheese, but its color can change with the seasons, as the cows graze on different plants throughout the year.

$7.99 each
Our Own Charcuterie Packs
Charcuterie snack-pack made up of our local Underground Meats Finocchiona, Nordic Creamery Grumpy goat cheese, Sartori MontAmore cheddar and Divina Greek mix pitted olives.

$7.25 each
New From Grocery

Jolly Llama Non-Dairy Ice Creams
Made with real coconut cream. Vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO.

$5.89 each

Rumiano Organic Cheeses
  • Shredded Parmesan $4.49 each
  • Sliced Havarti $4.49 each
  • Shredded Romano $4.49 each

Koai Plant-Based Smoothies
Indulgently delicious drinks packed with plant protein and made with little sugar. Vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, kosher, non-GMO.

$3.99 each
Beer & Wine Updates From Lisa
Beer News

Big News from Blind Pig!! The brewery has begun transitioning from bottles to cans. The new pack will be 4/16oz tall boys! Check out the new artwork below. Additionally, we will be seeing some new seasonals from them and they hope to participate in the Black is Beautiful collaborations. Stay tuned on late breaking info from one of our own local brewers!

Great Lakes Lemon Hefeweizen: I brought in several cases of this just in time for summer sipping. This refreshing brew is sure to please and session-able with a low ABV of 5.6%. Fresh lemon puree adds a bright citrus kick to an already great beer style. It’s tart…but not Gose tart!

Flying Dog Pool Hopping Deck Beer has also arrived! Another session selection perfect for a hot summer day. Whether you’re sneaking into your neighbor’s pool or lounging on your deck, this beer is hazy, fruity and light on the IBUs AND the ABVs. A win-win 😊

Big Thorn has decided to halt distribution for the short term. They are a very small production brewery and with the COVID situation, the Brew Farm has been extremely busy. They simply can’t satisfy demand for both retail and the Farm. We have a little bit left of the Mad Coffee Porter and Scruit…So, visit the Farm to get your Big Thorn fix. It’s beautiful place! Here’s a link to their website: https://www.bigthornfarm.com/
New Wine News

Sean Minor Sauvignon Blanc: Aromas of lime, orange blossom, melon, grass and a touch of tropical fruit notes. On the palate, the juicy grapefruit acidity integrates well with a medium body mid palate mouth feel. The kiwi, green apple and peach flavors evolve into a hint of minerality that adds complexity to the finish. Definitely not New Zealand style, more a nod to Sancerre, Loire Valley. Great by itself or with a wide array of food.

Local Food For All Mural
One of Common Ground's main goals is to be the center of a vibrant inclusive community that is alive with art. Through a grant funded by the Urbana Arts & Culture program, we have commissioned local artist Madelyn Witruk to create a large scale mural that will be a permanent feature of our front porch.

Goal of Project
The idea for this project began during the height of social distancing. For over a year, we were unable to host classes or artist installations in our Flatlander classroom, and longed for a way to continue integrating art and community within the Co-op. While we are finally able to begin restoring the classroom to its former glory, the outdoor mural will serve as a strong artistic visual to all owners, customers, and passersby.

Our "Local Food For All” mural brings together Urbana’s vibrant art community with its robust local food system through a series of six murals. The murals will depict images of the local food movement and food justice while encapsulating the diversity of Urbana’s residents.

Keep an eye out as progress continues on our mural!

Last month we raised $ just over $4,000 for Eastern Illinois Foodbank! With June's Round Up Funds, Eastern Illinois Foodbank will be able to work towards alleviating hunger in eastern Illinois by providing a reliable source of food for the hungry through cooperation with a network of food pantries and agencies.

July Round Up for Good - Planned Parenthood of Illinois: Champaign Health Center
Planned Parenthood of Illinois (PPIL) is the leader is providing and promoting comprehensive, compassionate health care, education and rights.

A Round Up for Good Grant from the Common Ground Co-op will support the provision of high quality, affordable reproductive and sexual health care at our local Champaign Health Center. Our Champaign Health Center serves more than 4,000 patients each year helping to prevent unintended pregnancies through contraception, reducing the spread of sexually transmitted infections through testing and treatment, and screening for cervical and other cancers. PPIL strives to improve the health outcomes for the people of Illinois by ensuring vital reproductive and sexual health care is available to those who need it most.