Rachel is an account manager at Vovia with a background in the exciting world of websites and digital project management. When she's not analyzing reports, strategizing with clients or crunching numbers, you can find her enjoying hanging out with her family and friends, exercising, creating a new salad mix for lunch or travelling.

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Vovia Client Profile – Get to Know Calgary Co-op

Our latest series on Get to Know has expanded beyond our great team to include a focus on clients we get the pleasure of working with here at Vovia. We’re lucky to have clients that we have built long-term relationships with, and one of these is Calgary Co-op. Vovia has been Calgary Co-op’s media agency since late 2017. During this time, Vovia has changed offices, grown our team and adjusted to life during a pandemic, while Calgary Co-op has experienced just as much, if not more change.

 For a retail operation that’s been around for over 60 years in our city, Calgary Co-op has experienced lots of change over its years of operation. With business operations in grocery, liquor, home health care, petroleum, pharmacies and now cannabis, the organization has been through major changes over the last few decades, but arguably the most change has come in the last couple years. Many of these changes help solidify Calgary Co-op’s position as Calgary’s store – while other grocers in our city may make local claims, it really doesn’t get more local and about community than Calgary Co-op. 

Here are a few of these big moments and changes Calgary Co-Op has experienced:

  • Bringing on cannabis was a big change for the organization, which happened in later 2018 with the legalization of Cannabis. There are now 7 locations throughout Calgary that sell Cannabis.
  • E-commerce for Wine, Spirits, Beer launched in late 2019, an important part of the organization’s adaptation to the changing retail landscape and allowing it to remain competitive in a very competitive market.
  • Calgary Co-op’s food store purchasing relationship with Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) ended in the spring of 2020, except for the High River food store. Calgary Co-op continues to purchase fuel from FCL. 
  • As a retailer, and especially an essential services retailer, Co-op had to quickly adapt and change from the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year in March (and continues to adapt all these months later). The pandemic has really changed their business operations. From supply struggles that all retailers dealt with in the early months of the pandemic to managing and adapting the in-store experience to keep customers and staff as safe as possible, it’s been a major uphill battle, but one that reflects Co-op’s brand of Together for Good.
  • Most recently, the official launch of two new private brands, exclusive to Calgary Co-op:
    • Cal & Gary’s, a curated line of products that uniquely reflect the city in which Calgary Co-op has made its home
    • Founders & Farmers, a quality and price competitive broad-ranging line of products 

Throughout these changes and those that came prior during our relationship, Vovia has worked alongside Co-op and the marketing team there to ensure our integrated paid media campaigns reflect key messages, adapt to their changing times, and build on successes to continuously work towards the organization’s business objectives.

To do this, Vovia’s team works closely with the marketing team at Co-op. To get their take, I chatted with Melissa Edighoffer, Marketing Planning Manager at Calgary Co-op and asked her a few questions on the Vovia and Calgary Co-op relationship and what’s on the horizon for the organization. Melissa has been with Co-op since July 2019 and has lived through and helped the marketing team navigate many of the changes recapped above.

How would you describe the Vovia and Calgary Co-op relationship?

We have a very collaborative working relationship. Our industry is very fast-paced and we know that we can rely on Vovia to stay on pace with us when having to make last minute adjustments. On a personal level, everyone that works on our account is fantastic. They are easy to work with and it is clear that they have our best interests in mind.

What’s one thing you find different about Vovia?

Vovia is definitely very invested in the business. They look for ways to make improvements on an ongoing basis and strive to drive our business forward. Their media experience, knowledge of consumer behaviour, and passion for the business has helped Co-op push the needle over the years. They are detail-oriented and transparent and always looking for efficiencies to help our dollars stretch further.

What are your biggest goals for Calgary Co-op?

We will continue to be a member-owned and community-minded co-operative. Our ongoing commitments include:

  • Continued expansion of our private brand products. Today we have over 600+ products and this number will continue to grow.
  • Ensuring our products are the freshest, including our produce, meat, fish, deli and bakery. We are now offering Ocean Wise Seafood in all our stores.
  • Increasing the number of local items we carry. We now have close to 2,000 local products on our shelves, proudly supporting Calgary businesses, both big and small
  • Being an environmental leader with an ongoing desire to make strides in plastic reduction and energy efficiency.
  • Being Together for Good. The Calgary Co-op Foundation supports thousands of Calgarians. Last year the foundation donated $1.9 million to local groups to support the most vulnerable.

Anything new and exciting on the horizon for Calgary Co-op?

Our main focus right now is on our assortment of private brand products; Cal & Gary’s and Founders and Farmers. Calgarians should continue to watch as we expand our selection of items specially curated for the tastes of our city.

The future is pretty bright for Calgary Co-op: while all of these changes have really evolved their business and they’ve been pushed by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are still pushing to evolve and adapt their business and continue to be Calgary’s store. Looking for other client stories? Check out our feature on GMS.