Dottie’s Discount Foods Closing its Doors
2020 ELECTION RESULTS
BOARD, BYLAW, and WORKING SHAREHOLDER DISCOUNT
TOTAL BALLOTS CAST: 1,029: 1,027 on-line ballots, 2 paper ballots. No ballots were invalid.
RESULTS BY CANDIDATE:
Steffen Gillom 853 votes Elected to the Board for a three year term
Mark Adams 773 votes Elected to the Board for a three year term
Joe Giancarlo 701 votes Elected to the Board for a two year term*
The Brattleboro Food Co-op is excited to announce the launch of its Round Up program. Shoppers can now choose to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar and have the difference go to a local non-profit. Each month we will select a different non-profit to be featured as the recipient of our shoppers’ generosity. The first organization that we will feature is Groundworks Collaborative in November and December. Groundworks Collaborative provides ongoing support to families and individuals facing a full continuum of housing and food insecurities in the greater Brattleboro area.
Dottie’s Discount Foods has been a staple of our community for over ten years. It has had its ups and downs but always delivered as a small, welcoming, community grocery store to our downtown. We have seen many iterations of the store from its start as a corner in the Co-op in the old Brookside plaza store. As the Co-op grew, so did Dottie’s, branching out to its own location on Flat St. Some of you may remember how invaluable Dottie’s was when the Main Street bridge was out. With Dottie’s expansion, varying product lines came and went, from our BFC -made sausages to salvaged products to inexpensive conventional product lines like Shur Fine and Food Club products. Many downtown residents came to rely on Dottie’s very inexpensive bread, milk, and eggs. Over the past few years, however, Dottie’s has experienced dwindling sales. Maybe it was Wal-mart’s expansion or ALDI’s new presence in Brattleboro. Perhaps it became more difficult at times to acquire enticing salvage products, or maybe our community changed. In an effort to be more of a service to the community we dropped prices even more, we shifted hours and upgraded our merchandising. But despite our efforts, after three years of lost revenue we are no longer able to keep the store open. In thinking about what to do, we considered the long-term trends in our business, in our community, and now, concern about the social and economic results of this pandemic.
[BRATTLEBORO, VT, July 2020—] Our community will be eating 2,400 restaurant meals each week in August, for free. Everyone Eats! is a new program using federal funds to purchase meals from independently-owned restaurants in Brattleboro, all of which are struggling because of the coronavirus physical distancing rules. The restaurants, who are experts in the field of feeding people, will be assured revenue and a role in our community. All people who need to eat will be fed. This is how Brattleboro does it!
Alaffia is a bodycare brand that exists not to make a profit but to fight poverty and increase gender equality. Olowo-n’djo Tchala and Prairie Rose Hyde met in 1996 in Togo, West Africa, when Hyde was there as a Peace Corps volunteer. They both grew up without much, though to differing degrees because of their countries of origin: Hyde’s family relied on assistance programs but she was still able to get a great education, while Tchala, one of 42 children (his father had multiple wives), had to drop out of school as an adolescent to help out his family. They married in the mid-90’s and moved to Olympia, WA, Hyde’s home town, and five years later they helped to form a shea butter cooperative in Tchala’s home, thinking they’d create jobs for women.
At our January 2020 Board meeting, our General Manager Sabine Rhyne said she was, “deep into her own learning cycle,” in response to the difficult discussion about race she facilitated with shareholders at the November Annual Meeting. I appreciate Sabine’s candor and the level of trust and respect she and BFC Board Directors have for each other. I am grateful that she shared this self-reflection with us, and thank her for providing me with a topic and a title for this article.
Perhaps a little of my personal history is in order as I begin my first year as the new Board president. I’m a baby boomer in my mid-sixties who moved to the Brattleboro area as a 29-year old. I’d just completed four years of teaching at a Waldorf school in New York City. Having grown up in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, this area geographically felt very much like home. Joining the Brattleboro Food Co-op was one of the very first things I did upon moving here in 1983 – quality food and a sense of community being my big motivators. (It was in college at the University of Maryland where I shopped at my very first co-op.) Soon with a baby and a toddler I spent a fair amount of time in the kids room at the Co-op when it was on Flat St. I also volunteered as editor of the first regular Food For Thought newsletter, a role I enjoyed for about 10 years.
At the Annual Meeting, Sabine Rhyne, our General Manager, used this phrase to characterize why shoppers chose the Co-op: “The reasons we, or at least I, head to the Co-op have to do with more than what is offered on the shelves.” In some respects the Co-op difference is intangible, elusive. In addition to purchasing food, you might see someone you’ve been meaning to call, hear live music in the café, and/or alleviate the feeling of ennui we can experience in our disconnected society. I know that I shop the Co-op for a myriad of reasons—it’s about the food, but it’s not just about the food.
In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we will be welcoming local organizations for our 4th Annual MLK Day Event. Join us between 10am and 6pm to meet and greet our local heroes: twenty organizations will be present in the store (in three consecutive 2-3 hour shifts) to inform, educate, and spread the word about volunteer opportunities in our community. Come hobnob with the coolest people in town! And remember, as a Co-op Shareholder you can receive up to 8 hours (4 months) per calendar year of your Shareholder Discount by volunteering at a local non-profit. At the Brattleboro Food Co-op, for more information 802-246-2821 or Shareholders@brattleborofoodcoop.coop.
Last year I wrote my first Co-op article on the topic of a welcoming community. To recap: In that article I spoke about my move to Brattleboro. It was a difficult time in my life, and I was seeking ways to make connections and find affiliation. One of my first decisions was to become a shareholder at the Co-op. I learned I could receive a discount by working two hours a month. Still groping to find my way I worked on average ten hours a week! I didn’t have other commitments and The Co-op was my “go to” place; I developed cordial relationships with Co-op employees, especially with those working the front end. I not only received a discount for my Co-op shopping, I also began to find the connection and affiliation I was seeking. Now I am a Co-op Board Member!