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AROUND TOWN: Store says so long to plastic in 2014

Store says so long to plastic in 2014 This January, the Amazing Grains food cooperative is making a resolution to kick the plastic habit. The downtown Grand Forks natural foods store and deli will stop giving out plastic bags to its customers beg...

Christopher Bjorke and John Hageman

Store says so long to plastic in 2014

This January, the Amazing Grains food cooperative is making a resolution to kick the plastic habit.

The downtown Grand Forks natural foods store and deli will stop giving out plastic bags to its customers beginning Jan. 15, the business announced recently. General Manager Ashley Decker said that after studying the use of plastic and paper, the cooperative's management and board decided they wanted neither of the containers.

"There just really isn't a good solution for the environment or sustainability to have either as an option," Decker said.

The store will encourage its customers instead to use reusable cloth bags, which it sells for $1.59 each. It also offers cardboard boxes and trays.

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It had been keeping a supply of previously used plastic bags at the store's checkout, along with new plastic bags. But the board decided to completely give up the throwaway bags to fit the earth-friendly values of the cooperative.

"It does fit in with the model of a cooperative," Decker said.

So far, word of the change has met mostly positive reaction, she said.

Management also allows customers to bring their own containers to package its bulk grains, nuts and other products that shoppers usually measure and bag themselves. They are also looking at options for compost-ready bags for produce.

One million components

Digi-Key's status as one of the world's largest distributors of electronic components is well-known in this region, but the Thief River Falls company recently announced a number that puts into perspective just how big big is: 1 million.

That is the number of component lines the company keeps in stock for customers. Not just individual pieces, but 1 million different products lines, according to Josh Olson in the company's communication department.

"It's a million stocking lines," he said.

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The number generally fluctuates, but it has been steady near the million mark long enough for the folks who keep track of the component inventory to confidently say they have a million, Olson said.

"It's pretty significant in that we offer the widest breadth of products in the industry," he said. Only five distributors in the world are larger than Digi-Key, and "Out of all of those, we keep the most product on the shelf."

The company aims to keep about 95 percent its product lines in stock at all times, a task that requires a lot of work to manage.

"We have a very large product-tracking group that manages our inventory," Olson said.

Send business tips to Bjorke at cbjorke@gfherald.com and (701) 780-1117 or to Hageman at jhageman@gfherald.com or (701) 780-1244.

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