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.
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.
In case you were not one of the 145 owners who registered and/or attended the Brattleboro Food Co-op’s Annual Shareholder Meeting on the evening of Wednesday, November 11th, you can get a really good sense of the content by reading the minutes that will be posted once they are approved at the December Board meeting. They are actually quite descriptive.
At the Co-op, this time of year is always both exhilarating and exhausting. I always say that a true retailer revels in this craziness: people enjoying thinking about food, looking for interesting products, planning events with family and community, and bubbling over in the aisles with joy—and with stress. This year, overlay all that with the pandemic situation, which as I write this is currently hinting at surging, and the balance between joy and stress shifts a little.
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.
RSVP for the 2018 Annual Shareholder Meeting and Community Panel Discussion!
6pm @ NEYT
100 Flat Street
I’m just completing the final year of my first 3-year term on the BFC Board of Directors, this time around. It’s very interesting to think back to my prior service on the Board back in the early 2000’s. At that time the Co-op was being lured out to Putney Rd. to fill an empty box store space. Kudos to the Cassidy brothers of BAST Corporation whose offer to sell the shopping plaza property to the Co-op turned us from renters into owners. That’s what made the numbers work in support of remaining in the downtown space. Now the Co-op is well-rooted as a downtown anchor. I for one wouldn’t want to imagine downtown Brattleboro without the Co-op walking distance from the residential and commercial core of our town. Over time it’s easy to take significant things for granted and forget the challenges we worked through to get to where we are today.
I’d never been a shareholder before. Being part of a community has always been important to me although it had never involved paying to join. It was all about frequenting the same places, getting to know the people who worked there, and making friends. There was no hesitation, however, about joining the Co-op. Here was a community I was excited to become a part of.