I have heard it said that it’s a gift to know when it’s time. I have received many gifts in my tenure here at the Brattleboro Food Co-op, often in thoughtful and caring conversations in the aisles. For now, though, I am stepping down at the end of December as General Manager. I believe that a new person taking the lead, with new energies and new vision, will be just the ticket for our beloved Co-op, to continue to shepherd it through the next few pastures.
We’ve been through a lot together, you and I. Many dramatic moments, several unexpected and difficult challenges, and some necessary changes that were at times difficult to swallow. But through it we have come, and I believe we are actually better for the journey. We have a wonderful management team that continues to make me proud every week, and is supportive of the improvements we need to continue to make. We have a committed and friendly staff that has weathered an incredible year and a half, adjusting constantly to meet the needs of our customers. We also have a strong core group of customers and owners, including you, who have taken to heart the many objectives of our cooperative and participate week in and week out to make it possible for us to do all that work. We have wonderful community partners, with whom we are learning how to be even better supporters over time. The Round Up program that you have supported has been particularly helpful for them. And we have a fine Board of Directors who are working to ensure that we have the right goals in mind for our Co-op, and now are addressing the process of hiring the next General Manager.
I want to thank you for shopping at our store. We have worked hard to make it more welcoming, to have more of the food you need, and to make it more affordable. Still, it requires a commitment to the values of local economies, cooperation, sustainability, and fair trade, not to mention a tenaciousness to drive through town and negotiate our famous intersection. Don’t think we aren’t grateful for you! (P.S., they tell us we will have a new bridge to Hinsdale in a couple of years, which will mean a kinder, gentler four-way intersection, so hang in there!)
I will be working hard to continue our projects through the end of the year, including some great diversity, equity, and inclusion work with Tabitha Moore, who you may have met at the Annual Meeting in 2020. We hope to join forces with the Community Engagement Committee of the Board to actively incorporate community voices in our work. We are also hard at work at a variety of efficiencies to reduce some of our expenses and waste in order to do more for both our staff and for you.
In the meantime, our Board of Directors is hard at work with the search for the next servant-leader of the Brattleboro Food Co-op. I am confident that we will find someone good, who sees what we have accomplished in the face of challenge, and who wants to be a part of something extraordinary. I will be moving on to something else, not sure yet what, but I am focused on our tasks here for the next few months. Thank you for the privilege of service.
See you in the aisles!
By Sabine Rhyne, General Manager