Message from the Board

Message from the Willimantic Food Co-op Board of Directors

Intimacy and loss are not words we typically use in talking about our Co-op, but they are very germane to our current situation. One of the things many of us appreciate about our Co-op is its intimacy: the cozy and welcoming feel of the store itself, with narrower aisles and lower shelves than conventional stores; the café area where we enjoy visiting with each other; the ready availability of the staff – friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. Yet these are the very things that made in-store shopping a risk for both shoppers and staff as the coronavirus was found in March to be spreading rapidly.

At that point (that now feels so long ago) the situation on the ground was changing fast, and our understanding of the implications evolving day-by-day. The decision to close the store to shoppers was made quickly – trying to stay ahead of the virus – but nonetheless with great thought. It was made with mindfulness of our core values as a Co-op: placing people and their needs, for both safety and food supplies, above abstract business principles.

And so we have a new context for loss: having to give up, for a time, not only the interactions that make our shopping experience at the Co-op special, but also the freedom to choose for ourselves from the many products we need or enjoy, and even how we shop. The Co-op has worked hard in recent years to reduce environmental impact. For many of us, increasing our consumption of fresh and bulk foods and refilling our own containers is a statement of our values and thus our identity. Now it feels like we’re backsliding – ceding hard-won ground. We may feel sad or uncertain because of this temporary but very real tension between values that are at the heart of our membership in the Co-op, and our new reality.

The Directors of Willimantic Food Co-op thank you, the member-owners, for your patience with the compromises that have been made in this situation. We thank you for the caring and support you have shown for our valued staff as they bear the risk to keep meeting community needs.

We fully support Co-op Management in the difficult decisions that have been made over the past months, and are assisting Management in planning for safely reopening the store.

We ask for your continued patience as that work develops, and that you contribute your thoughts via a short member survey which will run through Monday, May 25, 2020.

  • Each page of the survey is a group of 2 or 3 questions that we discovered times-out after 24 minutes so if you need more time on one page, simply hit Next and then Back to reset the timer.
  • If you can not see the difference between the shades of green that indicate your button selections, please click on your choice anyway and it will correctly register.
  • If there is more than one person in your household wanting to take the survey, they should either use different devices (e.g. laptop, smartphone, or tablet) or different browsers on the same device (e.g. Chrome or Firefox).

We ask for your continued patience as that work develops.

Thank you for your commitment to your Willimantic Food Co-op!

Kathleen Krider, President Sarah Accorsi, Vice-president
Joanne Todd, Treasurer Linda Brock, Secretary
Stefan Kamola, Director Nancy McMerriman, Director
Charlotte Ross, Director Natasha Sheer, Director

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