From the General Manager

November 2019 Update from General Manager Kari Bradley and Council President Scott Hess

GM Kari Bradley photo by Paul Richardson
Photo by Paul Richardson

Thank you to everyone who attended our Co-op’s annual meeting on Thursday or viewed it via ORCA media. It was great to have such a large turnout on a dark and snowy evening. In total, there were over 230 of us there to celebrate and learn more about our Co-op. We were treated to another excellent meal from our Prepared Foods team, drinks from the Morse Block Deli, and coffee from Capitol Grounds.

One highlight of the evening was hearing from local producers Claire Georges of Butterfly Bakery of VT and Emily von Trapp of von Trapp Flowers. It was fascinating to hear the stories of how they started and built their impressive businesses. They both shared insights into our local food system and deep appreciation for our co-op. Thank you, Emily and Claire!

Another highlight was honoring Allison Levin of Community Harvest of Central Vermont, the winner of our Cooperative Community Award. Allison has done incredible work helping to address food insecurity in our community through organizing gleaning activities. You can learn more about CHCV and how to support them here. Allison is a worthy first recipient of our new award. Congratulations Allison!

We had plenty of other community members to celebrate including:

  • Alex Fontaine, winner of the 2019 employee  Award for Excellence in Customer Service
  • Eight employees with 20 years (or more) of service at the Co-op:
    • Robert Kirigin, Produce Manager             34 Years
    • Mary Wells, Bookkeeper                            29 Years
    • Mary Trafton, Graphic Artist                      23 Years
    • Ben Bashore, Maintenance Coordinator 21 Years
    • Patrick Luce, Beer and Wine Buyer          21 Years
    • Giles Brule, Systems Administrator          20 Years
    • Nancy McShane, Deli Supervisor              20 Years
    • Rebecca Grayck, Produce Stocker            20 Years

We heard the customary Council and manager reports about the Co-op’s financial condition, impacts over the past year, and challenges ahead. The question and comment section included a spirited discussion of labor contract negotiations. Members also asked questions and offered comments about sales, the patronage refund, our Give Change program, and more.

We thanked departing Council members Ashley Hill, Shannon Lessley, and Mark Simakaski for their years of service to the Co-op. We also recognized newly elected Council members Olivia Dunton, Julia Goldstein, Scott Hess, Katie Michels, and Andrew Sullivan. Olivia and Andrew are Co-op employees. While the Council always has a non-voting Staff Representative member, this will be the first time that employees serve as voting members in many years.

All in all, it was an informative and lively annual meeting packed with good information and appreciations. You can view a recording of the meeting here thanks to our friends at Orca Media.

As always, please contact our staff or Council with your questions and ideas. Council meetings are generally the first Monday of each month in the Co-op’s Community Room from 5-9 pm, and there is always time at the beginning and end of each agenda for community comments.  Please join us.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Scott and Kari