I hope this note finds everyone in good health and spirits. It is with mixed emotions that I write to you today. As many of you have heard, I have decided to step down from my position as the General Manager of the Brattleboro Food Co-op. Serving in this role has, quite simply, been an honor and a privilege. I have had the pleasure of working with an exceptional team, dedicated board members, and passionate shareholders who are committed to the values and mission of our cooperative.
First and foremost, I wanted to extend our thoughts and well wishes to everyone who has been impacted by the recent flooding across the state. At the BFC, we are coordinating efforts with other cooperatives including City Market, Middlebury, Hunger Mountain, Hanover, Monadnock, and Littleton to support local farms through the and other organizations. One big way you can help is Round Up for Change in August, which will add flood relief. The BFC will be matching every dollar raised for flood relief to double the contribution. Thank you to everyone in advance for supporting this fundraising and helping Vermont recover from the flooding.
May this update find you all in good health and spirits! This month presents an opportunity to look back on our 2023 fiscal year, my first full year as GM, and also share a preview of things to come in 2024. The team has certainly accomplished quite a bit in the last year. There isn’t space to share everything here, but there are certainly a few highlights worth mentioning!
I hope this month finds everyone in good health and high spirits as summer approaches. We are finishing up our fiscal year, and planning for next year and beyond is well underway. At the heart of the BFC is a deep commitment to serving our community, and developing a clear vision and responsible financial plan is critical to our ability to do so.
I am writing this from my hotel room at the National Cooperative Grocers spring meeting. One year ago I attended this same meeting as a brand-new GM. Now, I am reflecting on an amazing first year at the Brattleboro Food Co-op – and there is a lot to think about. First, thank you to everyone on the BFC team. You have been patient, kind, and supportive while holding me to the high standard you deserve. To our Board, thank you for being such vibrant thought partners and for your service to our community.
I am going to depart from our regularly scheduled programming this month to share that our Store Manager, Whitney Field, has given her notice and is moving on to new adventures. Whitney began her career with the BFC in 1995 when she joined the team as a floater. In this role, she helped wherever she was needed, a strength that remained a common theme for her entire career. She was promoted to management a few short months later in the Bulk Department and the rest, as they say, is history. She then moved into the Grocery Operations Manager which included buying for the Frozen and Dairy departments. After a short stint at our neighboring Monadnock Food Co-op from 2013-2015, Whitney returned to the BFC and has been our Store Manager ever since.
As the Board and I have shared over the past few months, we are exploring additional ways that our Co-op can help address income disparity in our community. As our Ends state, we exist to meet our shareholders’ collective need for reasonably priced food and products with an emphasis on healthy, locally grown, organic, and fairly traded goods. Essential to this mission is to be able to provide these healthy alternatives to as many people as possible. We certainly do this in quite a few ways today. We offer, among other things, value brands and lines such as Field Day and Co+op Basics, an extensive bulk department, and a number of discount programs. These discount programs are where I would like to focus in this article.
In the past several updates Jerelyn and I have shared that the Board is currently reviewing our Ends policies through the lens of two issues – income disparity and climate change. I wanted to take a step back and share why this is so important to me as General Manager.
Ends are the desired results or outcomes that the Co-op is working towards. Ends are typically higher level, long-term, and are often related to the mission and purpose of the organization.
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.