Ends Policies influence Co-op success

From Chris Maher, General Manager

“We’ve all learned to leave room for each other in the development of an idea… I mean, it has to be a cooperative trip, or it ain’t music.” – Jerry Garcia

Employees pose for a fun picture after the monthly Open Book Management meeting.

Over the past two years, we have made significant improvements to your store in response to the outstanding growth we have experienced. The recent holiday season demonstrated that the expanded parking and store remodeling has gone a long way toward providing a comfortable atmosphere, even when the store is exceptionally busy.

Having a pleasant, even fun, customer experience is a key way that BriarPatch stands out among local retail grocery choices. Throughout the day we see customers engaging with knowledgeable staff, enjoying our fresh cooked deli foods, meeting friends and neighbors, or just simply shopping.

I strongly believe that our community-based, cooperative ownership is a fundamental reason that our store is such an inviting place. We face the same challenges as do all others operating in a retail environment. The difference, though, is that we operate with a clearly defined mission in the form of our Board’s Ends Policies. It’s good for us to review them from time to time.

Richard Munroe, holding magnificent bunch of local, organic radishes,

BriarPatch Co-op exists so that owners, customers, and other members of our community have:
A successful and vibrant cooperatively-owned business that acts as a leader among local businesses and food co-ops nationally, and contributes to environmental stewardship through its business practices.
Access to high quality, healthy products, especially local and organic food.
A community center where people experience a sense of connectedness, ownership, and fellowship.
A stronger local food system.
A major employer that provides a healthy, fair, and considerate workplace for employees.
Access to education about food and consumer issues that encourages customers to make healthier food choices.

Taken as a whole, these policies capture our ongoing mission, which is to define and work toward a holistic vision of health. A vision that considers the planet and our community as well as the individual. These policies give us a daily practice in all areas of the store and all the activities of the cooperative, namely to build on this mission and embody these Ends.

Cooking Class teacher John of Heartical showing students how to create salad mandalas.

Moving forward, we will continue to invest in our store to support the increased customer traffic. This year, we will focus on expanding our warehouse to better suit the high level of activity and product movement we experience. As you can imagine, there’s lots of activity in that area, which must handle nearly daily deliveries from all our major vendors. At the same time, we work to minimize the number of deliveries our local farmers need to make by buying and holding as much of their crops as possible. This, of course, increases the demand on our storage space. The warehouse is also home to our uniform service, recycling, trash, cardboard storage, and composting. While widening our delivery yard, we also expect to be expanding our on-site refrigeration. Plans are still in the design phase, but stay tuned – additional details will be coming soon.

Leave a Comment