It is with very mixed emotions that I write to share the news that I will be leaving my position at the co-op this summer.
As many of you know, two years ago I decided to run for an open seat in the Vermont House of Representatives. The Wild Oats Board of Directors was generous enough to accommodate my political aspirations, and agreed to let me work at the co-op on a reduced schedule during the legislative session. This was no small concession, and it was only because of the co-op’s very capable staff and well- established systems that anyone imagined such an arrangement could work.
By many measures, it did work. In my absence, the Wild Oats crew kept the co-op running and meeting the needs of the community. But as is often the case when trying to do two things at once, it can be difficult to do them both well. My dual career has been personally fulfilling, and in many ways serving in the House has made me a better co-operator. Over the last year, though, it became clearer that it was not a sustainable model, either for me or for the co-op.
Along with many co-ops its size, Wild Oats is at a critical juncture. While membership is at record levels and the co-op’s mission is being carried out in new and innovative ways, we have been challenged to increase sales and keep pace with ever-growing costs. Charting a path forward will be easier with a full- time, year-round general manager who is not balancing other responsibilities.
I recognize that the timing of this announcement is less than ideal. We are entering new territory with the emerging pandemic, and no one is quite sure what tomorrow will bring. I have reassured the staff that I will be here to support them and oversee the co-op for the next few months while the Board conducts its search for a new general manager.
With your continued support, I am confident that Wild Oats will be in a strong position and ready to tackle new challenges as the co-op makes this transition.