At A Glance

Originally operated out of a church basement, the Skagit Valley Food Co-op facility now occupies half of a city block with an adjacent space for food production. The co-op has used Mitel MiVoice Office 250 with a primary rate interface (PRI) connection and T1 phone line since 2014.

Goals

To best serve its community, the Skagit Valley Food Co-op needed a stable, reliable system for the 55 phones in the building. This became critical to front-line operations during COVID-19 when the co-op needed to communicate with customers about curbside orders and frequently updated hours.

Results

The Skagit Valley Food Co-op prioritizes having a phone system that “just works,” and their on-site Mitel server delivers. In use for almost a decade, the same server has outlasted all others in the building. It’s been so reliable that the hard-wired internal systems remained up and running even when a fire down the block took out the external internet and phone connections.

When COVID-19 struck, consistent communication became even more central to the co-op’s daily operations. Curbside grocery pickup required efficient call handling, and phone messages needed to be updated often with in-store hours and policies.

Mitel InAttend became a lifesaver during the pandemic, helping co-op workers manage high call volumes through auto-attendant and queue management features. Because the server was tied into copper T1 phone lines, every connection was clear and high-quality.

Management could quickly call in to change the central message, informing customers about things like mask mandates or hours reserved for at-risk shoppers. Auto forwarding ensured the store’s few remote employees didn’t miss off-site communications.

Now that things have settled into a new normal at the Skagit Valley Food Co-op, they’re focused on the future. It includes expanding food production to a facility next door and continuing to serve its customers with reliable Mitel communications.

I can’t tell you how many servers I’ve had to replace. We have replaced every other server, some of them twice. But the Mitel server is still here. We’ve had upgrades. It’s solid. It’s reliable. I don’t worry about our phone system.

- George Rodgers-Clark, IT Manager, Skagit Valley Food Co-op

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