Dear Owners of the Swarthmore Co-op:
As you know, the Co-op is presently between General Managers, so the Board of Directors is reaching out to you to share news about current and ongoing happenings in the store.
The search for a new General Manager (GM) is underway. After discussions with a national coalition of co-ops, the Board selected a national recruitment firm to submit candidates for the GM position. Candidate interviews by the Board are taking place now and the pool of candidates appears to be strong. While this may take some time, we are committed to finding the right person to fill this important position. We will notify you as soon as a new GM has been hired. Until then, interim management is being shared by the senior leadership team: Kira Montagno, Dave Blanda, and Shaina Ragamat. You’ll find them every day in the store. We are grateful to the interim management team and the entire staff for keeping everything running smoothly.
The Co-op’s financial health remains strong. The store made money in 2020 and 2021 and is on track to do so in 2022 due to more shoppers, larger basket size and beer & wine sales. This has allowed us to rebuild capital reserves, implement a plan to pay down existing debts, and begin to plan for future investments in the store. The interim management team is capitalizing on the past year’s strong results by offering our customers a wide selection prepared food, beer and wine and grocery products.
We have received mixed reviews from owners about the decision earlier this year to change from a “full service” model in our meat department to having pre-packaged meat products. We acknowledge that personalized butcher services helped to differentiate the Co-op; however, the decision to eliminate full service was made in response to labor shortages, ongoing COVID concerns, supply chain interruptions, inflationary cost increases and major food waste. In addition, our deli and meat cases were in need of replacement and our newly installed cases allow us to better support the availability of prepackaged products. We have seen dramatic reductions of food waste in recent months. We will continue to monitor sales of pre-packaged vs. full service products and will adjust our services and offerings accordingly.
Like many other businesses, the Co-op currently faces challenges to fill staff vacancies; however, we have been able to fill several positions in the past month. Our staff continues to focus on keeping your shopping experience positive and efficient.
We invite you to stay involved in your business! Check out the Co-op website regularly for more information and updates. Visit www.swarthmore.coop/contact/ to reach out to the Board whenever you have questions or comments.
Thank you for your continued support of the Co-op. We look forward to seeing you in the store!
The Co-op Board of Directors