by Tom Nunziata
The United Nations General Assembly has proclaimed 2012 the International Year of the Cooperative. This is recognition of the scope and diversity of the cooperative movement around the world and an acknowledgment of the important role of the cooperative business model for its economic vitality and significant contribution to society.
Cooperative businesses extend well beyond the more common ones with which we are familiar, such as food co-ops and credit unions. The cooperative sector includes childcare, healthcare, insurance, agriculture, and much more. In the United States alone, there are 29,000 cooperatives that support more than two million jobs.
2012 is also the year of the Brattleboro Food Co-op. As you read this article, we will be just a few weeks away from the opening of our magnificent new space. And to be sure, it is so much more than a new store. In addition to the bright new retail space there is a new community room, cooking classroom, offices, and improved back room facilities. The community room and cooking classroom will be the hub of many exciting activities. The new offices will be improved accommodations for our staff and eliminate the sometimes perilous journey to our current offices across Main Street. The improved back room will give our store staff better room for receiving and back stock, invisible to us shoppers but an important element in having an efficient operation.
This event is truly cause for celebration. This beautiful building is the result of decades of planning, vision and wisdom of the many board members that have come before me and our talented General Manager, Alex, and his dedicated staff.
It is worthy of celebration to look at this building and think back to the early years at High Street and Flat Street. And of course, we can’t wait to be looking back on the current store.
It is worthy of celebration to know that our new building will be a significant economic and social anchor for our vibrant and unique downtown.
It is worthy of celebration to know that it sits on Main Street because years ago our leadership knew the importance of being downtown and not up in a strip mall on Putney Road.
And celebrate we will.
As of this writing the date of the opening is planned to be June 14th. The current store will be closed on June 13th. Our deli and bulk departments will close a little bit earlier due to the complexity of these moves. Wednesday the 13th is the day we will need all hands on deck, staff, shareholders and board members. We are still asking for volunteers on the 13th for 2- or 3- hour shifts. We are planning a group photo that day, the first celebratory event.
Day One of the new store will have what is known as a soft opening with not too much fanfare other than a low-key cutting of the register tape. It’s too soon for the more official ribbon. The focus on Day One will be on making sure we’re up and running successfully. There are a lot of moving parts in our operation and turning them all off and on together can be an adventure.
On Day Two, we will celebrate with the inauguration of our beautiful new community room.
Before we get to the Grand Opening celebration, there is more work to be done. Let’s not forget that emptying the old store doesn’t make it go away. We will continue to tough it out as this structure is deconstructed; one result of this deconstruction is that our parking situation will likely get a bit more challenging before it gets better.And then there is the milestone event of having our beloved parking lot paved.
Our plan is to celebrate our Grand Opening events in October.
We have a lot in mind for this happy event. Keep the dates open and watch for more details as we get closer.