A Closer Look at the Bloomingfoods Board

Donna, Art, Mary Beth, Carol, Gretchen, Janice, and Tim. Who are these people and what do they really do? These questions may go through your mind (though probably not very often) when you see the results of the co-op board elections.

Donna Stroup has been re-elected as board president. Donna generates an enthusiasm for all of the topics the board must discuss and creates an impeccable orderly agenda which keeps our meetings timely and efficient and allows us the opportunity to brainstorm new ways to fulfill our mission of providing wholesome options for our member-owners.

Art Sherwood was elected to be vice-president this year. As chairperson of our board education committee, Art led the discussion each month on how we could keep money in the local economy rather than having it leak away through out-of-town purchases, investments and insurance. Using The Small Mart Revolution by Michael Shuman as our guide, we explored the concepts therein each month.

Mary Beth Haas was re-elected to the position of treasurer and chairperson of the finance committee. Mary Beth has provided invaluable insights into our financial procedures. As a CPA with many years of financial experience, Mary Beth seems to be able to catch possible financial pitfalls that we could stumble into due to our less-astute interest in accounting. We all breathe a little easier knowing we have several accounting whizzes on the finance committee and the staff.

Carol Bridges...that’s me...was re-elected as secretary, as I enjoy writing this monthly newsletter communication. I am fortunate to have Darcy Harvey to carry out the minute-taking and record-keeping responsibilities for our meetings. Her capabilities are excellent and her input and humor are always welcome.

Janice Lilly contributes her substantial skills and compassionate wisdom to the financial and other ad hoc committees on an ongoing basis, while also keeping an eye on the larger social issues which concern the board.

Gretchen Handlos, chairperson of the board perpetuation committee, shares her keen eye for detail and steadfast helpfulness at every board and committee meeting of which she is a part.

Tim Clougher, new to the board this November, has a wealth of experience in heading other community organizations, and we look forward to his input in the years ahead.

Every board member contributes to each meeting and holds themselves accountable to have read relevant material for each meeting and to present opinions in a clear, respectful and succinct manner. We also share as much lightheartedness as possible. We try not to forget to appreciate each other and our excellent, dedicated general manager, George Huntington, who tries his best to please everyone all the time, even with full awareness that (with over 7500 member-owners) that is absolutely impossible.

Considering the changing economy, keeping big box grocery store competition in mind, staying abreast of which foods are healthy and which companies are socially responsible, as well as handling the daily affairs of three separate stores – this is a huge job. The details of these concerns are handled by George and close to 200 employees. You might say: they are the river, and the board is the banks of that river. We create the broad, clear guidelines that direct the daily decisions of the general manager so that he can rest assured that he is on the track of encouraging a healthy, local, national and global environment by operating a sustainable (environmentally, economically, socially equitable) business which provides wholesome options to its members and community. If you feel moved to participate in this work, consider running for board election in 2010.


by: Carol Bridges, Secretary, Bloomingfoods Board of Directors