Welcome to the Groundhog Naturals Buying Club!
Groundhog Naturals is always growing, evolving, and learning together. You are welcome to be as large or small a part of this buying club as you are comfortable! There is room for everyone! Here is some information to help you get started.
Structure of the Club
Buying Club Manager
Marlene manages the buying club. She helps with setting up new members, answering member questions, processing orders to submit to our vendors, management accounts, and splitting orders when they come in.
Any person of legal age may become a member. All you need to do is complete the Groundhog Naturals Buying Club sign-up form to register. When you register as a user, you’ll be send a user login and password to our Groundhog Naturals Buying Club ordering site. When you log in for the first time, you’ll be asked to electronically sign our membership agreement.
Our one-time membership fee is $10 per member, which is paid with your first order.
10% will be added to the product total for each order, before tax. This fee covers costs for the buying club software, the cost for ordering catalogs each year, PayPal fees, website hosting, and shipping costs if the group order is below $250.
We pay Connecticut sales tax when we place our orders. The state of Connecticut does not charge tax on most food items, but does charge tax on pretty much everything else, such as health and beauty care items and general merchandise. Currently (August 2016) the state sales tax rate is 6.35%.
Orders will be placed once per month or more frequently as the club grows. If the group agrees to move sooner the date for an order, that’s perfectly fine. If all members agree to the order date change, a few days’ notice will be given to the new date.
If the group order is less than $250, shipping costs are incurred. Group members will decide together if they wish to place the group order or not.
Members are not required to place minimum orders each month. On our ordering website, a member can place an order for items and also set up splits to share cases and bulk foods with each other. Click here to watch a four-minute video on how we place orders and splits.
When the group’s order is received and member orders have been split up and gathered together, the Buying Club Manager will use the Facebook group to coordinator deliveries. Members will work together to find the most convenient drop-off points and times, this will evolve over time.
Right now Groundhog Naturals orders from the Frontier Wholesale Coop company. We hope to add other suppliers in the future, including building relationships with local farmers. Frontier offers bulk herbs, spices, teas, herbal products, baking and cooking products and supplies, including general groceries, personal care items, pet supplies and more. When you complete your sign-up form and membership agreement, you’ll be sent information about access to the main catalog and sale catalogs for our supplier, Frontier. You’ll receive a printed version of the current main catalog with your first order. (Future catalogs come out approximately once per year.)
Members may want to set up relationships with other suppliers, such as local farmers that you know – this is great! Marlene can help with setting this up for the group. (Example: maybe you know a supplier of raw honey who sells by the gallon – the group might want to go in on splitting up a few gallons!)
Connecting with Each Other
Groundhog Natural has a private Facebook group where we talk with each other and introduce to each the new things we’ve found! When you have submitted your sign-up form and signed your membership agreement, you’ll be invited to join the group.
Suggestions for Success
1. Introduce yourself! We enjoy getting to know each other, sharing our skills and knowledge with other members. Please tell us who and where you are, what you hope to gain from being a member, how you might be able to contribute or share, etc.
2. Read the catalogs from our supplier! It’s very exciting to see such discounts for so many of our beloved foods and products.
3. Once you receive your user details or if you’ve registered yourself, log into the Groundhog Naturals ordering site to familiarize yourself with placing an order. Read the ordering instructions for using our site.
4. You’re welcome to jump on into the current month’s order.
5. About late payments. We all understand when money is hard sometimes. The Buying Club Manager, Marlene, will let you know when the group order is going to close. After that, she will let you know that your payment is due via PayPal. If you do not have the funds to cover what you are ordering, withdraw your order or make arrangements with Marlene as to what may be workable. Groundhog Naturals needs to pay in advance for the order to be shipped. So missing or late payments can delay the order (or sometimes sabotage it altogether because of splits no longer being filled). So you must pay in full on time and if this is going to be a problem for you, please either withdraw your order or work with Marlene and the other members to make something possible. Someone may be able to help you out.
6. When the order comes in, Marlene will split it and prepare the orders. Members are welcome to come join Marlene any time to be able to see the entire group order (it’s so much fun to see everything!). Pickups and dropoffs will be arranged via the Facebook group. Some clusters of people live near to each other, so they’ll be able to connect with each other to pass along orders.
Groundhog Naturals Buying Club Membership Agreement
The name Groundhog Naturals may considered to be the same as the name Groundhog Naturals Buying Club.
A) Overview of Responsibilties
Sellers/Buying Managers accept responsibility for placing orders, collecting payments, organzing orders, maintaining good records, prompt response to questions and clear communication about all purchases they offer to Groundhog Naturals members.
Buyers/Members accept responsibility for clear communication, prompt payment, helping with deliveries, and timely pick-up of all purchases made through Groundhog Naturals Sellers/Buying Managers.
Both Buyers/Members and Sellers/Buy Managers accept RISK for loss, theft, bad product and matters beyond control with vendors, farmers, ranchers and other providers of products.
Communication is Key! Open lines of communication are essential to this community-based club. Please remember, the success of Groundhog Naturals depends on your cooperation, flexibility, patience and enthusiasm for the process!
B) In order to be a member of Groundhog Naturals, I agree to:
- Pay my one time membership fee ($10 per member) in my first order.
- Pay a 10% order fee for each order.
- Electronically sign this Membership Agreement when I first log in to the Groundhog Naturals Buying Club ordering site.
- Join the Groundhog Naturals Facebook group for information and group discussions
- Periodically sign into the Groundhog Naturals ordering site to check on orders, join splits if desired, and check order placement dates
- Agree to be periodically emailed by Groundhog Naturals to keep you posted with the information on the club, the latest sale catalogs, etc.
- Read through the Information for New/First-Time Buyers.
- Only place orders if I will have sufficient funds to pay for them.
- Pay for my order on time. I understand that non-payment or chronic late payments may result in suspension of my participation with Groundhog Naturals.
- Work together with other buying club members to distribute order deliveries, making advance arrangements when orders come in. I understand failure to participate in helping to distribute orders to members or failing to pick up orders on a chronic basis may result in the suspension of my membership with Groundhog Naturals.
- Respect the generosity of Sellers/Buying Managers, who maintain a space in their home or garage for Groundhog Naturals products and activities.
- Connect with the Buying Manager after each group order is distributed out to make sure they know you’ve received and checked your order.
- Bring it to the attention of the Seller/Buying Manager, if I have a problem with an order. I understand that the Buying Managers have entered into a working relationship with the vendors they represent, and it is their role to work toward resolving problems. So, I will not contact vendors (such as Frontier) directly regarding problems, but will instead work out any problems with my order through the Buying Manager.