Happy New Year everyone and thank you for an incredibly successful holiday season at the Brattleboro Food Co-op! I hope everyone found a few moments of peace and stillness during the hustle and bustle and had some time to reflect on the year.
November was certainly a busy month for us here at the Co-op. I want to start by thanking everyone who attended our Annual Meeting. We had an informative event and I wanted to thank our panelists again for their participation and insights. We did have one issue with the meeting size that took us a few minutes to fix, so I apologize to those of you who tried to join at the start but were unable. You can find the and on our website and recordings will be made available shortly. I am very happy to share that the Board is currently planning a return to an in-person Annual Meeting next year, so hopefully, Zoom meeting limits are a thing of the past. We are now looking forward to follow-up discussions with our shareholders regarding the meeting theme, “ensuring a thriving future,” and I am excited to continue the conversation.
I want to start this month by thanking those who are running for the Board of Directors. Core to our identity as a cooperative is the principle of democratic member control, so it is important that we have engagement from our shareholders that enable us to have meaningful elections. We are happy to share that we have seven candidates for five open positions this year each of whom provides our shareholders with different skills and perspectives to choose from. More information about candidates is available and voting is just a couple of weeks away. Our Annual Meeting is November 9, and I am excited to say that we already have over 130 shareholders registered to attend. Our total attendance last year was 160, and we are on track to exceed that number by a large margin. If you have not yet registered you can do so . We look forward to seeing you!
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.