GM Search Update January 2022

  | Board of Directors, GM Search

As we last reported to you in our December update, we were excited to bring in a candidate for the GM position in December. That individual, Peter Waldmann, visited Brattleboro and our store on December 8 and 9 and interviewed with both the management team and the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors voted unanimously on December 13 to offer him the position. Unfortunately for us, Peter has decided to go in a different direction: he will be the first general manager of a co-op start-up outside Chicago. We are happy for him and wish him well!

In the meantime, our arrangement with The Carlisle Group remains in effect, and they continue to recruit and screen candidates on our behalf. What that entails is described below. Ultimately, we are confident that more qualified individuals will emerge after the blur of the holidays. Store Manager Whitney Field will be assuming Sabine’s duties through the month of January. The Board of Directors is working with Columinate (a co-op of consultants that specialize in co-ops) to bring in an interim GM.

Finding a new General Manager is not going to be easy in the current environment. As of early December, The Carlisle Group, the executive search firm we’ve retained to assist us, had contacted over 350 individuals nationwide with experience as General Manager of a grocery cooperative. In addition they contacted an additional 150 individuals from co-ops large enough to have an operations leader or store manager, a person 2nd in charge of the co- op. They have also worked through contacting store managers and general managers at grocery stores within a 100-mile radius of Brattleboro. Additionally, The Carlisle Group sent out a message campaign to 11,000 management personnel in their proprietary nationwide database. This is in addition to posting ads on sites such as LinkedIn, Indeed, Careerbuilder, and Columinate. Also, as a point of note, they have made extra efforts to contact over 300 individuals they specifically know to be diverse. It was these efforts that resulted in six candidates that our consultant, Carolee Colter screened for us last fall. As we reported to you in December, the Search Committee selected three finalists to interview, two of whom withdrew, each for different personal reasons.

Not surprisingly, there is an unprecedented level of demand from businesses for employees and management, at all levels. Midway through 2021 saw the resignations and retirements of numerous long-standing General Managers in the co-op community. This issue was not exclusive to the cooperative sector as it has been true throughout the grocery industry at large.

The Board feels confident that we have cast our net as wide as possible and we know that these times are unusual in a variety of ways. The Board’s ultimate goal is to ensure the thriving future of the Brattleboro Food Co-op for you and and for our community. We hope you will join us with your participation and your good will!

So stay tuned, and as ever, any questions or comments can be directed to