The board-GM team at Central Co-op has a very clear vision of how the Co-op presents as a community anchor and advocate: The Co-op is a point of convergence where participants make good things happen for each other and in their community. Putting the cooperative model at the front and center of the co-op, in its activities, processes and systems, is what aligns participants, through a shared vision and spirit. The Cooperator in Chief (general manager) and board have made the strategic decision to make Central a hub of action—a place where good ideas and plans for change and growth begin, are nurtured and turned into results.
By being a community leader, cooperatives offer their communities myriad ways to participate in the achievement of co-op goals. Those goals come into focus much more easily when they are operationalized. Participation becomes a very real thing—and an inspiring story that can be told, heard and shared.
A great example of this strategy in action is Central’s lead of the citywide effort to name Seattle a Bee City USA, an initiative in which a city makes a commitment to provide sustainable habitats for pollinators.
“It’s had real impact. It’s a big thing that we’ve had our hand in that. And it’s been a lot of fun,” said Dan Arnett, cooperator-in-chief. The advocacy required a lot of organizing and involved many stakeholders citywide and was a huge, recognizable achievement for the co-op community. It was hard work that paid off.
Arnett says now the staff is interested in having glass-paned hives and honey taps at each of the stores’ locations. He’s thrilled at how participation has taken root and is blooming at Central through Bee City USA activities.Add to favorites