by Lucinda Alcorn
Our local communities here in Southern Vermont share most things in life; the list is endless… environment, businesses, schools, farms, and friendships. And for the Putney and Brattleboro Co-ops, we share our shareholders! With this in mind, the Putney and Brattleboro Co-ops’ Boards of Directors are exploring further collaborations.
I have lived most of my life in small towns and enjoyed the resilience and benefits of combined communities.
Our local communities are important to nourish and enjoy, each contributing their own unique flavor to our local banquet.
It feels natural to think of the Brattleboro Food Co-op and the Putney Food Co-op working together—in the past, present, and into the future.
Our two Co-ops are currently utilizing our joint management expertise, business resources, and shareholder strength to work together and enjoy our shared communities. We have had a management consulting agreement for many years, and also have worked together on financial oversight, human resources, and product selection and merchandising.
The boards of the Putney Food Co-op and the Brattleboro Food Co-op have shared two creative evenings as well as other meetings to understand our common ground and differences and to discuss the possibilities of our future collaborations.
On May 24th, 17 members of our Putney and Brattleboro Food Co-op Boards of Directors and General Managers shared our second wonderful dinner at a local restaurant and an evening of invigorating conversations concerning our combined opportunities and partnership.
We celebrated, explored, and talked about our histories and our future ideas. We discussed how we have been working together throughout the years and where we see the future possibilities of combining our resources and strength.
What could be our possible opportunities? What are the “low hanging fruit?”
What can we accomplish together to fiscally benefit and support both food cooperatives, our shareholders, and our communities?
How do our shareholders envision our future?
Among so many other incredible ideas, we have discussed linking our shareholders to a joint patronage dividend, sharing employees and training opportunities. Other ideas are combining purchasing to lower costs as well as insurance, human resources, and accounting.
A core team of directors from both Co-ops will review the ideas and feasibilities.
We will be reaching out to all shareholders through various communications!
In truth, we are indeed stronger together.