Feeding a Better World

A Letter from the Co-op General Manager

To our cooperative community,

Today I would like to take the opportunity to thank the members who have reached out to me in response to my letter last week. The expressions of support have been very touching. I know events nationwide are affecting each of us in profound and individual ways. Each of us has an experience to share and a story to tell. That sort of spirit is what drove me to write the letter, in which I shared my thoughts about where we are as a society and what we stand for as a Co-op. As I wrote then, we believe all individuals are equal and add to the collective fabric of society. Diversity equals strength, end of story. At least for this chapter.

Now it is time to think about the next chapter. Finding the language to strongly rebuke actions that are patently and obviously wrong, to reject behaviors that are clearly indefensible, is relatively easy. However, I also recognize that it is easy to sound like one is giving lip service to this idea. Anyone with a sense of decency and humanity recognizes that racism and bigotry, both overt and systemic, are widespread and repugnant and go against the ideals of a thriving modern society—in particular the ideals of the cooperative movement. What is much harder to do is for society to work for real change. For us, that means we will continue to monitor the non-discriminatory and anti-harassment policies and procedures we have in place to ensure we are living up to our own values. This should be a given for any self-respecting, society-respecting organization. However, in my view we need to go even further than that.

In the spirit of thinking globally but acting locally, we need to have the courage to be painfully introspective and critically self-aware.

The key, as I see it, is continually challenging ourselves to never become complacent with respect to recognizing and dealing with the twin-headed monster called racism and bigotry. In every facet of our business—quality, customer service, sales, customer and employee experience—we strive to be the best that we can be, every day. I pledge to you today that your Co-op will continue to monitor our policies, evolve them as necessary, and effectively deal with any breaches to these policies for as long as I serve here.

I want to hear what you have to say about this too, so please reach out to me anytime and share what is on your mind.  

In the meantime, through it all, life goes on. Here at the Co-op we still have a business to run and a community to support and feed. As we move toward the end of another week, I take comfort in the fact that this is an organization that exists to nourish the good in people—all people—in many different ways. These days we need all the positive nourishment we can get.

To all of our members, thank you, and remember to be kind to one another and to yourselves. Stay strong, stay healthy, and stay positive. We will all come through this together. As I tell our employees regularly, calm and focus wins the day.

Onward and upward,


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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 by the Co-op Board as interim General Manager in March 2020 and General Manager in September 2020. To contact, email PGuidone@coopfoodstore.com.

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