I am very excited to be your GM for the BisMan Community Food Co-op! Recently I attended the Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) in June in Boise, ID. This is the biggest co-op conference in the nation and I had the opportunity to meet with several other GM's from all over the U.S. The total scope was made clear to me as to how big and fast this Co-op movement is… there were 75 Co-ops represented from all over the U.S. In meeting with a lot of the fellow representatives and attending the breakout sessions, I learned about the “do's” and “don’ts” of co-op operations.
Food Co-op's are fairly new to ND, which means we as member/owners have a lot of work to do in regard to educating people on the impact a Food Co-op will have on the local economy. The 6 key points are:
1. Member Owned
2. Access to Locally Produced, Natural, Organic, Specialty
4. Concern for the Community
5. Great Place to Shop
6. Great place to work
The founding team has been working hard since 2012 to bring The BisMan Community Food Co-op a long way. They have established a mission statement that brings it all together:
The BisMan Community Food Cooperative is committed to providing a grocery shopping experience reflective of our community’s commitment to health and wellness.
Our 3 guiding principles are:
1. Real Food: we are what we eat
2. Empowered community members
3. Strong local economy
As we look at the fore mentioned mission statement and the 3 guiding principles we are reminded of the vision that these founding members had and know that it will soon be realized!
As your GM, my driving principle is to start with the end in mind. Well, the end is in sight now that we have a location which we will start to remodel in August! We have an exciting floor plan which will soon be finalized. In mid July we will start to meet with local farmers, producers, and ranchers and to establish and asses our base of local products. Then we'll begin to lock in our regional and national suppliers.
In September, the Board will meet to set up some buying standards/product policies and Governing practices.
So as you can see we are getting close and it is getting exciting!! Here's what we need from you as member owners:
1. Tell your friends, neighbors, and relatives about the Co-op
2. Our goal is to open with 1200 member/owners, we are getting there!
3. Consider a member loan or purchasing preferred shares in the co-op
4. Provide input on items you would like to see your Co-op carry
In conclusion, I have been to both Wholefoods and Trader Joes, and although they carry a lot of natural, organic, and specialty items, they are not locally supplied and they don’t put money back into the community. This is where we, as your locally owned food co-op, will excel. The market is ready for the Co-op so lets get more members and get the Community ready to support the Co-op!
GM, BisMan Community Food Co-op