Books and groceries in bulk direct from the underground

Livres et ├ępicerie en vrac direct dans le m├ętro

Life slowly returns to the subway despite the levels of traffic always anemic. At proof, a new book store and bulk products has opened in the former premises of the bookstore, The Scroll, in the Berri-UQAM station.

Tuesday afternoon, a handful of customers wandered the many stalls of the co-Op Berri-UQAM, which also makes office, computer store including a counter for service appliance repair certified by Apple.

The social enterprise has opened this shop there are six days, in full pandemic. “It was a gradual rise in our sales since the opening. It is several thousands of dollars, so it’s encouraging,” welcomed the director of the co-op, Thierry Bachelor’s degree.

The books and computer equipment are common in the shops in academics, but it also has a grocery section zero waste with many food products, hygiene, and body in bulk. Containers and reusable bags are available on-site.

“There is a full traceability on each product. It was above 50 to 60 % of the products manufactured and processed in Quebec,” said Mr. Bachelor.

According to a survey conducted in collaboration with the Observatory of responsible consumption, the demand for a grocery store, zero waste was very high among the students of UQAM, ” he said. “We had a lot of positive feedback. It is a cheap product, with just the right amount,” said Mr. Bachelor.

The bookstore also has a section stationery, a selection of comics and board games.

Opening on the bottom of pandemic

The co-Op Berri-UQAM, an organization that has existed since 1981, held its breath in the last few months, since the COVID-19 had delayed the opening of this shop scheduled for mid-march and led to the closure of its other points of sale on campus.

“We did not expect to break sales figures, but we were pleasantly surprised by the dynamics of our retail store and our groceries in bulk,” says Mr. Bachelor

The co-op will also be a shortfall when the new school year in September, which will be a good part in virtual mode. According to Mr. Bachelier, this period usually accounts for 50 % of the annual turnover including the return of the spring.

“The school book is not as put forward by the teachers,” he adds. We must diversify our sources of income to sustain.”

But despite a fiscal year that promises to be more difficult, Mr. Bachelier remains confident and ready to welcome its customers.

“It’s disturbing, but it is full of hope and optimism,” he concludes.

The co-OP Berri-UQAM is open to the general public and to its members from 10 am to 18 pm from Monday to Saturday at the station Berri-UQAM.

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