Baker Food Co-op Manager Carol Morrison Retiring

Baker Food Co-op Manager, Carol Morrison, will be retiring October 11, culminating 14 ½ years of faithful service to the Co-op and the community. Baker Food Co-op has changed and grown a great deal during Carol’s tenure, and she has been a vital part of these changes. Please “stay tuned” for plans to honor Carol at her retirement. More information will be posted later in September at the Co-op, in the October newsletter, on the Co-op’s Facebook page, and on the website.

Letter from George Wheaton – New Board of Directors President

Dear Baker Food Co-Op Member, I am honored and challenged as I begin the next two years as the President of our Board of Directors. Many of us have become aware that there are challenges ahead of us that we must, as a group, meet to continue to provide the needs and wants of all of us. So I am asking, even pleading, for your assistance.

I am, at this time, forming five committees to look at areas selected as possible or necessary areas for our improvement. They are:

1. Storefront improvement – to create a more inviting image of the store as people go by.
2. Store layout – to explore if by changing the arrangement of the store we will be able to create a more pleasing and enticing shopping experience.
3. Art – to explore how we can incorporate the works of local artists to the advantage of both the store and the artists
4. Product expansion – to identify new items which we can incorporate into our store to meet the needs and wants of the community
5. Community Outreach – to explore the participation of the Co-Op in local activities
6. Environmental Awareness – to identify ways we can reduce our negative impact on the environment through positive actions

Your Board of Directors and the store management will be looking at ways to reduce costs, reduce waste, and in general make us more cost-effective in all areas while meeting our mission – “To supply affordable high quality natural and organic foods, supplements, sundries, and cleaning products.”

Your assistance is needed. If you are willing to be on one of these committees, please let me know by e- mail (board@bakerfoodcoop.org) or by leaving a message for me at the store. If you have suggestions in any or all of the above areas, we have a suggestion box at the store, or again e-mail me.

As stated in my letter introducing myself prior to the election, I feel we are at a crossroads. The actions we as a group take in the next several months will be a major factor in determining the successful growth of the Baker Food Co-Op, and even it’s continued existence. Only a little time spent by each of us, talking to friends and neighbors to tell them about the Co-Op, doing more of our own shopping at the store, and sharing our wants and needs so that we get the products in you desire, will help us to grow.

I invite you to join with me in making the Baker Food Co-Op the local grocery store where everyone can obtain locally grown produce, healthy foods, bulk items at reasonable prices, etc.

George Wheaton

Announcement Regarding Baker Food Co-op’s Property on 10th Street.

Regarding Baker Food Co-op’s Property on 10th Street.

March 21, 2018

The Baker Food Co-op’s Board of Directors unanimously agreed to seek approval from the Baker Food Co-ops member-owners to pursue a Voluntary Foreclosure on our property on 10th Street, Baker City, OR. At our Annual Meeting on April 17th, we are asking members to vote for this decision. The outcome of this election will be decided by a majority vote.

The Co-op membership approved the purchase of the property in 2009, with the intent of building at the location. In 2010 the Co-op moved into our existing location and purchased the building in 2014. The property has been on the market for sale since 2013. To date, the Co-op has paid in excess of $20,000 in both principal and interest payments on the property. The remaining balance of our loan is $98,429.

Through the years there has been very limited interest and no formal offers to buy. Continuing to carry the responsibilities of this debt has become detrimental to the long-term economic health of the Baker Food Co-op. Even if the property was to sell, which appears unlikely in the near future, we feel there is little hope of recouping our initial investment and would still incur a substantial loss. It has reached a point where we feel it is crucial to minimize further losses.

We find ourselves in an undesirable position and this was not an easy decision to make. The Board of Directors feels it is unavoidable at this time and not to approve this request could impact the future of the Baker Food Co-op. To be clear, once a formal request for Voluntary Foreclosure is made, it is not a sure thing. The final decision rests with our creditor.

The Board of Directors recommends that our member-owners support this request during our annual elections on April 17th. This is a very important issue for the future of the Baker Food Co-op. Please vote.

Dennis Winkler, President of the Board of Directors

George Wheaton – Board Candidate

Hi, I am George Wheaton, and I would like to be your Board of Directors as a Member at Large for the coming 2 years. I joined the Baker Food Co-Op the third day I was here in Baker City in October 2015. Since then I have been a working member in the following areas: truck crew, stocking, cleaning/janitorial, handyman projects, cashiering, packaging, and, recently, department head and ordering.

I feel we are at a critical time for the Baker Food Co-Op. With the expansion of organic products in the mainline grocery stores, we need to find the niche which will give us a marketing advantage and, thereby, draw in more customers and increase sales. Operations need to be reviewed to determine where costs and waste can be reduced. We need to actively promote what makes us a unique source for obtaining healthy organic and GMO-free foods within the community. Brightening up the building, inside and out, without expending large sums of cash, will, I believe, create new interest in us and draw in more customers. I will explore all sources and solicit all ideas as to how we might achieve these goals, including the pursuit of grants as funding for improvements.

A short list of relevant experiences:

– The Wheaton Group – a management consulting business working with for-profit and not-for-profit businesses to review their current status and determine ways to guarantee that the business would continue to be profitable or, several cases, become profitable so that they would not go out of business.

– Executive Vice President and General Manager of Bars Leaks Western, an automotive aftermarket manufacturing company.

– Served on the Board of Directors, and as an officer, of other not-for-profit organizations, including, presently, the Bhutan Cultural Exchange.

– Many years of supervisory experience in organizations ranging from the Veterans Administration to small marketing companies.

– Taught in private and public schools, grades 5 through 12.

Education:

– Master of Science in Business Administration, with an emphasis upon personnel management and marketing, from Indiana University NW.

– Bachelors degree and education training from Michigan State University.

Dennis Winkler – Board Candidate

Nomination Information for Dennis Winkler

What experience do you have with the Co-op?

I have been a member of the Co-op since 2002 when I moved to Baker City. I joined the Board of Directors as President in April of 2014 and have served in that capacity for the past four years. Prior to that as a working member, I have experience packaging and stocking. I helped move the Co-op from the old 10th Street location to its new location and I have helped with store inventory.

Please give specific contributions you can make to the Co-op by serving on the Board.

I am a retired Forest Service employee with over 15 years of supervision, budget, and management experience. I have been a member of numerous workgroups and committees in a wide variety of settings and specialties as both a team member and team leader. I am an effective team player with strong management, budget, and leadership
skills. I feel that these attributes and my professional experience will help to make me a valuable Board member. Additionally, I currently volunteer with the Baker City School backpack program.

I look forward to continuing to serve as a member of the Board of Directors, helping the Baker City Food Co-op move forward in the future while continuing to be a vibrant and healthy downtown business as well as a valuable resource to the community.