July 2019 Board Update

July 15, 2019

In June, I had the pleasure of attending CCMA, a conference for cooperative grocery stores across the country. It is always inspiring to hear from other co-ops and I greatly appreciate how willing they are to share their experiences and resources. This year I returned as a speaker, sharing what I have learned as board president during a challenging time in Bloomingfoods’ history.

I am under no illusion that I have any magical solutions to offer and I’m the first to admit we have many struggles still to overcome. However, I wanted to share my experience in the hopes it might help another co-op. The conversation was lively and ranged across many topics but we always seemed to come back to communication, transparency, and respect.

Nothing Earth-shattering and yet extremely challenging to implement consistently and effectively. It was great to hear both the successes and the failures from co-ops around the country. I shared my experience of pushing for an all-staff meeting only to learn that it caused a minor panic because the only previous all-staff meeting had been to announce the closing of Elm Heights. Doh! We talked about what it takes to keep members informed and engaged, and I was delighted to hear that there are folks from coops in other states that read our newsletter to
follow our story and cheer us on. It was a great conference overall and renewed my spirits in a much-needed way.

In more local news, we will be celebrating Bloomingfoods’ 43rd birthday on Tuesday, July 23rd in both the East and Near West Side stores. Look for board members serving mini cupcakes between 11:00 and 1:30 at the Near West Side and between 5:00 and 7:00 at both stores. I hope we can all take a moment to celebrate Bloomingfoods, a Bloomington institution for nearly half a century.

Happy Birthday, Cooperators.

Maggie Sullivan
Bloomingfoods Board President