co-op teamwork

The Cooperative Difference and the Year Ahead

Hello to our cooperative community!

As we look to planning for 2023 and beyond, it’s a good time to reflect on what sets us apart from other businesses in our industries.

In many ways, we aren’t that much different from the competition. At the core, a cooperative is really just another type of business, one with a unique ownership structure. And like other businesses, we have the same primary set of variables and rules—buying and selling goods and providing services.

But if you think of businesses as a tool for accomplishing something, it’s easy to see how a cooperative is dramatically distinct from its competitors.

On the broadest level, most businesses only seek to maximize profits, but we seek to maximize community benefit.

Yes, we’re an economic generator, and a powerful one. But our purpose is to accomplish so much more: to care for our communities, to provide good jobs and fair employment, to nourish and nurture the many people who depend on us, to support local agriculture and give our family farms a thriving market.

The point is that we need to be smart and run our cooperative like the strong and competitive business that it is, but we get to do it differently and for a better purpose. Our strength is that we run our business to support people and the communities we all serve.

I’ve said it before: the last few years have been really tough on us all. We’ve weathered a lot of storms and adapted to new conditions. Looking forward to next year, think about how we’ll keep building a better co-op together, creating stability and optimizing our work for a better future.


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Amanda Charland

Amanda Charland is the General Manager of the Co-op Food Stores. She was first hired as the Co-op's Sustainability Coordinator in 2012, and joined the Co-op Leadership Team as Member Services and Outreach Director in 2014. She earned a Master's Degree in Cooperative Management in 2017, and she was promoted to Director of Cooperative Engagement in 2018. She was hired by the Co-op Board of Directors as General Manager in 2022. Contact her at

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