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05/23/2022

L.A. Co-Op Adopts Shelf Cameras, ‘Self-Driving Store’ OS

Indie working with Focal Systems on retail automation
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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Focal Systems Co-oportunity Market Main Image
Once implemented in a physical location such as Cooportunity Market, FocalOS aims to drive huge efficiency, reduce waste and promote more sustainable practices throughout the business.

Cooportunity Market, the only organic food cooperative in Los Angeles, has teamed with retail automation provider Focal Systems to launch Focal’s Shelf Cameras and “Self-Driving Store” operating system to its two stores in Santa Monica and Culver City. Their partnership marks the first full deployment of the operating system, which rolled out this past March. The first-ever zero integration installation shows artificial intelligence’s (AI) ability to leap-frog over existing systems.  

Focal’s Shelf Cameras scan all in-store inventory every hour, enabling store managers to remain up to date on supply at all times. Focal’s AI detects when products are low, items are out of stock and when certain perishables are close to expiration. It then automates ordering and order writing based on the information and alerts the back room to any products that need to be removed from shelves. Once implemented in a physical location, FocalOS drives huge efficiency, reduces waste and promotes more sustainable practices throughout the business, according to the company. 

“I’ve worked for the co-op for over 28 years, and it’s never been more challenging,” noted Aung Min, Cooportunity’s general manager. “We need data and technology to help us strategize and make smart inventory decisions, and we need to support our team. Labor is so tight right now, and we’re looking for ways to make it more fun and fulfilling to work in our grocery stores.” 

“We’ve spent the last seven years perfecting our Self-Driving Store operating system, with the goal to optimize and automate grocers and retailers of all sizes,” said Francois Chaubard, founder and CEO of San Francisco-based Focal Systems. “With our zero-integration platform, the stores will be live and transformed in a matter of hours with the most impactful cloud-based and AI-powered OS in the world. We’re excited to enable the Cooportunity Markets to remain competitive and uphold the co-op business model amidst their highly capitalized grocery competitors.”  

The news comes shortly after retail executive Suzy Monford joined Focal as chief strategy and marketplace officer. Monford’s last position was president and CEO of Seattle-based PCC Community Markets,

“Since the start of my career, I’ve worked to innovate and reimagine food economies and business models,” observed Monford. “The modern grocery marketplace has gotten more complex and competitive. Partnering with the Cooportunity Markets is a first step to unlocking success for the more than 5,000 co-ops in the U.S., and will help democratize access to fresh, sustainable food. We look forward to this partnership and many more in the years to come.”

Focal has raised more than $40 million in venture capital funding to date and has scaled its solutions to retailers on three continents.

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