Today’s tip of the day is a guest post from Amber Cooper. She added a comment on my CICT Facebook Page recently about Azure Standard, a bulk buying program that I hadn’t heard of before. I hope you’ll be as excited as I was to learn more. Thanks again, Amber!
If you have been waiting for a natural food co-op to come your way, you just may be in luck! Azure Standard, a bulk natural/organic food co-op from Oregon, is looking to add Tennessee to their route in January 2012. If you have heard of Azure Standard, you know well the outstanding reputation that precedes them. If not, I will share my own experience with you.
Originally from Missouri, I had heard of Azure, their excellent prices, and their beautiful organic produce. But, alas, I lived in Tennessee and did not have access to this co-op. Then I realized I could work out a visit to my mother, still in Missouri, during one of the deliveries. I logged onto their website: www.azurestandard.com, and looked at what they offered. No prices were listed until I created an account, which was as simple as logging into my e-mail. I just entered my name, e-mail address, and password, and I had access to all of their price listings. Though it is required for each order to be a minimum of $50, I had no problem filling that for the month. If I did, I could have had my mother or a couple friends order with me. Azure carries dry goods, canned goods, frozen foods, produce, baking supplies, and non-food items including health and beauty aids, books, appliances, essential oils, and much more. They also run specials each month, which makes them even more affordable.
Ordering was simple. I used a credit card online, but I also could have paid over the phone, mailed a check, or paid in cash or check when the truck arrived. Azure then sent me an e-mail letting me know the day, time, and place of the delivery. She included her phone number, which I used, in case I had questions. Since they are family owned and operated, I was always met with friendly, helpful people rather than an automated recording.
On delivery morning, I pulled into the designated delivery spot (Home Depot’s parking lot) with several other moms in SUV’s and minivans. I had heard rumors that the trucks are amazingly punctual, and I was not disappointed. Almost to the minute, the diesel pulled in and opened the back of the truck. A man and his two teenage children quickly unloaded the boxes. Our items were already sorted, and our names were written on each box. It was as simple as finding your name and loading it into your car. The diesel took off, and we moms went through our boxes to check if everything was present. One item of mine was not shipped, and I asked one of the local moms about it. She said to call Azure and they will take care of it. Sure enough, Azure explained that they do not charge your card until the items are packed onto the truck in case a product is temporarily unavailable for some reason. So, though I didn’t get my broccoli, I didn’t have to go through the hassle of getting the charge credited back to my account either.
When I returned to my mother’s house, we were gushing over the pristine condition of the fruit. The apples were so sweet and crunchy, the oranges rivaled Florida’s, and my proud purchase of 40lbs. of sucanat was, well, heavy! My experience with Azure could not have gone any better. I loved the entire process.
Now I’m back in Tennessee, and I received an e-mail saying that Azure is coming our way. All we have to do is find enough interested people in our area for them to create a “drop-point.” It takes $550 in total sales for them to drive a truck to a city. But with a city as big as Knoxville, I don’t think that would be difficult to do. Azure has asked me to collect names, addresses, and e-mails of each person that is interested in joining the co-op. There is no cost to join and no obligation to buy, but when you see these products and prices, especially their sales, you will be as excited as I was to get in on the savings. You can send me your information or questions at cooptimr at hotmail dot com.
If you are outside of the Knoxville area, you might want to check with Azure Standard to see if they have a drop off point near you.