The Life-Affirming Power of Democracy

A Letter from the Co-op General Manager

To Our Community,

Given the events in our nation’s capital over the past 24 hours, I feel the need to depart from my usual list of updates today.

It is no secret that turmoil and conflict are plaguing our nation. Personally, I was deeply disturbed by what I witnessed over the past 24 hours. I believe many of you were, too. I have had the great privilege of living and traveling overseas extensively in my prior life. The behavior demonstrated in the past 24 hours is typical of some of the most despotic countries I have worked in and not of a properly functioning democracy—especially our country. I firmly believe it is acceptable for individuals to disagree with one another, to be disappointed with an outcome, but it is never okay to trash property, lives, or stomp on the very democracy that provides people the freedom to protest and express their disagreement in the first place.

That said, I believe there is great opportunity at times like this to find comfort and strength in those things we hold dear. Democracy requires understanding, acceptance and cooperation— the very principles
by which we operate our Co-op.

There is a reason that cooperation works—as a business philosophy, as a social movement, and as a general guiding principle. In a world in which so many are intent on creating problems, cooperation by its very nature exists to solve problems. If you are dismayed today, as I am, I hope you too can find great comfort in that. 

Today I would like to leave you with a challenge: Step up your commitment to the powers of understanding, acceptance and cooperation. Let yourself be humbled and wowed and awed and astonished by the people around you, then find ways to work together to solve problems. In short, create. Innovate. Take a risk. Learn from a mistake. Make the world, your part of the world, more interesting, by expanding the circle of people you cooperate with. Ignore the chorus of loud, critical voices that will always be around you, seeking to gain advantage by tearing others down. Rather, focus on the calm voice within that knows we can all do better. In short, we have the freedom to make a difference. Democracy—understanding, acceptance and cooperation—will always trump chaos and confusion.

Be strong, everyone. As always, I welcome your comments and questions. Please reach out to me anytime. In the meantime, remember to be good to one another and to yourselves. We look forward to serving you in our stores and at the curbside.

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

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