Fall is here, and our Annual Meeting is right around the corner! The theme for our meeting this year is “ensuring a thriving future for our Co-op,” and we have an engaging panel discussion planned, so if you are a shareholder remember to save the date for November 9th. Staying financially healthy is foundational to our longevity, of course, but we have many other things to consider as well. We exist to meet the collective needs of our shareholders. Ensuring a thriving future means that we understand how these collective needs may be evolving and that we develop plans to support them. The Brattleboro Food Co-op has an opportunity to meaningfully increase the value that we bring to shareholders and the impact we have on the community.
We have a few weeks of summer left but fall is fast approaching. Kids and teachers are back to school and many trees are starting to give us their first hint of color. By the time you read this we will have celebrated Labor Day. It can be easy to forget that Labor Day is much more than an extra day off in the fall. Labor Day pays tribute to the contributions of workers everywhere and was created by the labor movement in the late 19th century. The Brattleboro Food Co-op is proud to be closed on Labor Day as we celebrate and recognize the contribution of our staff and our partnership with the UFCW Local 1459 who represent them.
I would like to start this month by extending a heartfelt thank you to Jon Megas-Russell who is moving on to new adventures after an amazing career with the Co-op. Jon built a strong and capable Marketing and Community Relations team and was instrumental in helping the Co-op build strong ties to our community. Jon – thank you for your time, energy, and service as a member of the Brattleboro Food Co-op team. You will be missed, and we wish you the best in your future endeavors!
In honor of my first 4th of July as GM of the Co-op, I would like to share some thoughts about independence. Independence has been core to the Co-op identity since the Rochdale Principles were articulated in 1844. As such, it is an important concept for us to understand and embrace at the Brattleboro Food Co-op (BFC). Independence is usually defined in one of two ways. The first is the state of being free from outside control. The second is not depending on another for livelihood or subsistence. I firmly believe that in order to serve the Ends articulated by our shareholders, we must be true to our Cooperative Principles.
The update in May centered around the idea of emergence. As I write this in the shadow of the horrific events in Buffalo, Uvalde, and the ongoing atrocities in the Ukraine I would like to share some thoughts about resilience. Resilience is the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty. In many ways it is easy to feel helpless in moments like these. What can we do that is meaningful for the parent in Uvalde whose child is never coming home? For a grieving mother in Buffalo who must explain to her children why they will never visit their grandmother again?
As week four of my tenure at the Brattleboro Food Coop comes to a close, the word ‘emergence’ comes to mind. Emergence is the process of coming into view or being after being concealed. It is Spring, a season of rebirth and renewal so it seems only fitting that our community is also cautiously emerging as the long ‘winter’ of the pandemic begins to subside. While there are still signs of the passing winter and the threat of a new variant remains present, the signs of Spring and life beyond COVID are beginning to take shape.
I am excited to be writing my first contribution as the General Manager of the Brattleboro Food Cooperative! After a very eventful cross country move that included a U-Haul breakdown, a blizzard warning, and a high wind advisory my family and I are finally settling back into life in New England.
I am very excited to announce that we have hired a new General Manager Lee Bradford! It has been a great experience for me to be the interim general manager and I have learned a lot. I want to thank everyone for all of their support and help throughout this transition. Jerelyn and the rest of the Board have been great to work with. I also want to acknowledge and thank all of the management team and the staff at the Co-op. They were all very supportive and took on extra tasks to help me while I was doing this job. I am looking forward to all of the experience and skills that Lee is bringing to the table. I am looking forward to continuing on as the store manager. Congratulations to us all!! – Whitney, Interim General Manager / Store Manager
February has always been the month that focuses on love and affection and I wanted to focus some attention on our employees. As Shareholders, we have all been feeling the strain of COVID and all of the ways it is tiring and stressful for each of us. I wanted to send out some extra love and appreciation for our staff for how hard they have been working to keep the shelves and coolers full, making fabulous food, keeping the store clean and in working order, ringing you out at the end of your shopping trip. Also for all the behind the scenes stuff that happens upstairs with Marketing, Finance, IT and HR.
Hello! I just wanted to introduce myself. I’m Whitney Field, and I’ll be serving as the Co-op’s Interim General Manager while the search for Sabine’s replacement continues. You have seen me in the aisles for years as the Co-op’s Store Manager. I have been in that role since 2015. Before that, I worked all over the Co-op – I started in Bulk in June of 1995, and since then, I’ve worked in just about every single department in the store.
It’s been a little more than ten years since I began working at the Brattleboro Food Co-op, and a little more than six since I took on the General Manager role. Looking back, this organization went through so much in that time, it’s a little hard to believe. Traumatic tragedies, difficult tensions, epic mechanical failures, transitions a-plenty, and ultimately a long and winding road to profitability.
I want to take some time, in this season of gratitude, to thank all of the people who have taken on the challenge of bringing us at the Co-op along on the initial journey of understanding our part in our racist culture and policies. I can’t imagine how exhausting and frustrating it must be, day in and day out, to teach—often ever so gently—basic understanding on topics that our teachers have dealt with every day of their lives and have physically experienced from their ancestors’ lives.