Cutting the Ribbon
by Alex Gyori
Despite all there is yet to do, for me, the picture of opening day continues to overshadow everything. Visualize a small group of staff behind a good length of register tape, in front of the new store, facing a large group of smiling, excited people who materialized out of nowhere precisely at noon on June 16. With a quick snip and a cheer spiced with a few happy tears, our new Co-op store opened for business!
I stood back watching everyone enter, the anticipation clearly showing on everyone’s faces. It was deeply satisfying to see the first tenuous steps quickly turn firm and proud—an unforgettable moment.
The whole community got us to that moment, including our town officials. As the various phases of construction were finished, permits were required to start our business activity. The officials charged with the inspections for the Certificate of Occupancy – life and fire safety, including emergency lights, fire alarms, sprinkler system charged and ready – conducted extensive tests. We were on tenderhooks, aware that the state of readiness of the building was just enough. As a number of incomplete items were pointed out, the officials worked proactively to make sure these could be addressed, and permits issued without unnecessary delays. We are very appreciative of the professional and community-minded manner in which our inspections were handled.
Attending to the many items needing completion was at times mind-boggling. Critical pieces of the puzzle were the health inspections. The state health inspector had to sign off on three separate permits, two of them so the deli could start cooking in the new kitchen and open the self-service portions of our deli line, and the third for our new full-service seafood department. Our staff knew what needed to happen, but we were so very dependent upon the electricians, the plumbers, the elevator installers, and many other subcontractors to complete seemingly endless tasks to reach the thresholds required. There is no way to express adequately the appreciation that I feel for all the departments that had to keep working out of the old premises, commuting doggedly for several weeks to keep the food coming and staff services running.
The vision that I had for opening day featuring a store fully complete, every department ready to go was not to be. We needed to get under way before the close of the fiscal year (June 24) to maintain fiscal soundness, and therefore we had to set aside that ideal vision and start doing business, despite the obvious unfinished aspects– deli, seafood, lighting, etc. But all that is largely behind us, our job now to fine tune our operating procedures as we await completion of the site work outside. Just a little more patience needed, but it is so worth it.
Thanks and much gratitude to everyone for the support, hard work, and the many, many encouraging words! Have a great rest of the summer, and we’ll see you at the Grand Opening in October!
Kristin Haislett Retires
After almost 20 years at the Brattleboro Food Co-op, Kristin Haislett headed out for the Delmarva Peninsula and a well-earned retirement. Kristin began her career here as our produce manager in the early 90s succeeding Luby Wind, and then later she shifted to working in the bookkeeping, grocery, and information systems departments. Many years before that, she had been manager of the Putney Co-op when it was still in Putney Center. Kristin is a dedicated cooperator, and we enjoyed working with her. For months before her retirement, she worked calmly and steadily to train our new IT person, Pam Croteau, as well as our new data management specialist Haley DiMarino, and supplies manager Joan Marshall. Kristin will be missed, but we certainly do not begrudge her new path. We wish her a continuously rewarding and always interesting life.