Moving Forward

A Letter from the Co-op General Manager 

To Our Community,

Early September is a great time of year at the Co-op. The summer growing season continues to fill our stores with local and regional produce, fall is right around the corner, and our employees are already preparing for the holiday rush. With that as the framework, this week our teams have made good progress on many different fronts, and today I would like to tell you more about it.

The Trust Factor and the Co-op Service Centers

Throughout the summer and leading up to our budget process in the fall, several or our teams have been working together to closely and strategically look at areas of the business that we have identified as key opportunities that differentiate us from the competition. One of these areas is the Hanover and Norwich Co-op Service Centers.

Specifically, our teams have spent the past several months on a joint project designed to explore our auto-repair offerings and to think about new and innovative programs we might be able to offer to our customers. The ideas they are considering are highly creative and forward thinking, matching the services we provide to the needs of the community.

For now, all of this is still in the research stage. Co-op employees have conducted interviews with several current customers and our teams are also reaching out to other prospects. The sample size is small for the moment, but the feedback has provided rich ground for consideration.

A consistent message I wanted to bring to your attention is what I call “the trust factor.” Trust is incredibly important in any service industry, particularly in automotive repair. Many businesses strive for it; few pull it off.

The bottom line is you either have it or you do not, and according to our customers, we have it. People trust us and do not feel like they are being taken advantage of when they bring us their vehicles for service.

This feedback was good to hear, and I have to admit did not surprise any of us. Trust is earned by good people doing good work day after day, year after year. There will be more to come about this project, but in the meantime, I would like to recognize all of our Service Center teams for an unsurpassed, trustworthy work ethic that is increasingly difficult to find these days. 

Open Positions

We are entering the critical time of the year for our businesses. The weeks leading up to the holidays are crucial for us, and we have open positions throughout the organization that need to be filled. It is particularly important to fill as many of these positions as we can now so that our employees are well-trained and ready for the holiday rush in a few weeks.

To do this, our HR and Marketing teams are continuing to work together to implement innovative and creative recruiting techniques to promote our open positions. We are also looking at cross-training new hires, and existing employees where possible, so they can be flexible and responsive as needed. We have a list of open positions by location, and we are working on ways to promote these positions in our stores and through our online channels.

Facilities and Infrastructure Projects

 This morning my team reviewed the extensive list of infrastructure projects currently underway throughout the organization. I would like to spotlight our Facilities and Information Technology teams for all of their work on these projects, as I know it is very difficult to stay ahead of the curve. The important takeaway is for all of us to remember what all of this work is for. At the end of the day, our goal is an unmatched employee and customer experience. Make no mistake, we are committed to this.

As you shop the Co-op and look at these projects in all of our locations, know that the end goal is always to make our Co-op a great place to work and shop, both for us and for future generations.

Wrap Up

My thanks to our members and shoppers for the ongoing support. Remember to be kind to one another and to yourselves, and as always, we look forward to serving you in our stores and at the curbside.

Onward and upward,

Thanks,

Paul

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Paul Guidone

Paul Guidone

Paul Guidone, CFA, spent the better part of four decades in the investment management business here and abroad. He held positions ranging from analyst through Deputy Chairman and Group CEO, at organizations such as Citigroup (US) and The HSBC Group (London and Hong Kong). He joined the Co-op in 2016 as the CFO and in 2018 became Strategic Advisor to the General Manager. Paul was appointed General Manager by the Co-op Board in September 2020. To contact, email PGuidone@coopfoodstore.com.
Paul Guidone

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