PT Food Co-op

The Food Co-op, 414 Kearney Street, Port Townsend, 98368
Port Townsend
Phone: (360) 385-2883

Archive for the ‘Management’ Category

Board Blog

December 27th, 2017 by Sharon Dauenhauer

Strategic Plan Renewal: Education, Outreach, Advocacy
by Lia Karoura (December 27, 2017)

This year the board is reviewing and revising our strategic plan to update it for another five years. The plan has five goals, also known as Ends, and these Ends are what help make The Food Co-op different from your usual store. In December, Juri Jennings and I were present in the store alcove to collect member feedback about our fifth End: Education, Outreach, and Advocacy. At the January board meeting, we will be facilitating a discussion about this End.

During the alcove session, one of our member-owners suggested that The Food Co-op host more social and community events related to food, such as passing on “farm life” traditions through harvest parties, where the community participates in using and preserving surplus food.

In our discussions about this End, Juri and I have noted that Education, Outreach, and Advocacy are all big concepts that mean different things! At the January board meeting, we will be talking about what each of these words could mean to different stakeholders and how our strategies and practices fit into each of them. We also noticed that our End does not mention food-related social justice issues such as fair trade, worker treatment, and economic sustainability for local farmers.

Please join us at our January Board Meeting on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 at 5:30 pm to discuss Education, Outreach, and Advocacy!

A5 Title: Education, Outreach, Advocacy
End: Our members will be knowledgeable about the products they consume, the connection between food choices and personal health, and environmentally sustainable practices.

• Focus our education, outreach, and advocacy efforts strategically
• Engage our member-owners in:
o Ongoing dialog about strategic direction
o Advocacy opportunities that advance our mission and principles
o Understanding and promoting the cooperative model
• Expand programs to educate people of all ages and all walks of life about the benefits of healthy food choices
• Collaborate with other organizations to leverage our education, outreach and advocacy efforts

Strategic Plan for 2013-2017

January 10th, 2013 by

Strategic Plan double truck new endsAt the December 2012 board meeting, a five-year strategic plan was unanimously adopted to set the direction for the Food Co-op’s future.

“A strategic plan is an opportunity to look towards the future that you want to create and then assess where you are currently, then look to align efforts and resources,” said Sam Gibboney, board president. “It’s that budgeting of effort and resources that the strategic plan helps an organization to make the daily choices that we have. Any organization, any person, particularly in this day and age, is faced with a multitude of decisions every day where they can put their attention, put their time, put their money, and the Co-op is no different.”

The full document is now available online at: Food Co-op Five-Year Strategic Plan: 2013-2017.

UNFI strike

December 28th, 2012 by

Some of our member/owners have inquired about the United Natural Foods, Inc. (UNFI) drivers’ strike at the Auburn distribution center.

The Food Co-op regrets the labor strike between the UNFI drivers and its management. This strike is confined to the Auburn distribution center alone because UNFI’s other distribution center drivers are non-union. As a cooperative, we strongly support the right to engage in collective bargaining, fair benefits and pay, and safe working conditions. In September, along with other co-ops in the area, I wrote to UNFI management and urged them to negotiate with their drivers in good faith to reach a settlement. Since the strike began, Grocery Manager Khy Griffin has, on several occasions, encouraged UNFI management to find a resolution also. The Food Co-op does not have a position on the strike where UNFI management vs. union is concerned, because we do not have all of the details.

This situation has highlighted a vulnerability of our supply chain, and we believe there are both short- and long-term solutions. UNFI supplies the majority of our grocery, dairy, and body care and wellness products, and the Co-op is under contract to use UNFI as its primary supplier. In the short term, to break that contract would result in a substantial increase in cost for those products which our member/owners would have to bear. We are exploring other long-term, secondary wholesale options to diversify our suppliers and support organizations that align with our cooperative values. We continue to voice our support of these values to the National Cooperative Grocers Association and UNFI.

While we are now accepting deliveries from non-union UNFI drivers, we believe the best solution is not to shop elsewhere since UNFI also supplies other grocery stores on the peninsula. Instead, we urge our member/owners to buy locally produced items as much as possible. Toward that end, we ask our owner/members to keep in mind that the Food Co-op has more local products than any other retailer in Jefferson County and has the only WSDA-certified organic produce department on the Olympic Peninsula.

Kenna Eaton, General Manager

GM Update: Strategic Planning Phase 2

July 5th, 2012 by Sharon Dauenhauer

By Kenna S Eaton, GM

The Board has had a busy few months with the strategic planning process. This spring we completed an online scientifically random member survey, an in person member forum, interviews with key informants [people or groups we identified as being closely aligned with our mission] and the Annual Member Meeting held June 3rd. For members who were able to attend that meeting, the board presented a summary of its findings so far and for a great review of that meeting, please read Sam Gibboney’s article in the summer issue of Coop Commons.

June 26th the Board had a 4 hour long workshop to revisit our processes and procedures and to orient the newest board member, Henry Werch. Sunday, July 15th will be a day long board retreat focused on strategic planning. No one really knows what will come out of that work but it is sure to be interesting. When the board has determined the strategic direction we should be taking then my work begins identifying the paths we can take to get there. We are making amazing progress and we still have a lot of work in front of us. Check out our updated version of the strategic planning process poster in the store and online. Be sure to let us know if you have any questions so far by contacting us via email at or you can call me, Kenna, at the Co-op [360-385-2831 ext. 303]

Thanks for being a part of our future planning process and be sure to join us to help celebrate the Co-op’s first 40 years Sunday August 19th at the Northwest Maritime Center from 2:40 to 6:40pm in downtown Port Townsend.

Strategic Planning G.M. Update

May 1st, 2012 by

STRATEGIC PLANNING: AN UPDATE by Kenna Eaton, General Manager

Thanks to all of our owners who joined us for our Member Forum on Sunday April 15th. We had some wonderful one-on-one, in-depth conversations and received some very interesting feedback.

The forum was intended to be a “values” check, a place to converse about our Co-op and one more step in gathering information for our strategic plan. The people who attended gave us good responses and took their their time to really think through what they wanted to say. There was a level of seriousness and respect that was wonderful to see and hear. We had established six different stations, set up at the P.T. Community Center, each one asking participants to focus their feedback on a different aspect of our Co-op. At the station I was positioned titled, “The Store,” board member Sally Lovell and I asked our owners what they wanted to see happen in our store. The options ranged from keeping it simple– nothing fancy, really all we need is a place to buy our whole foods without a lot of frills– to the more nuanced– keep the basics AND offer choices that adhere to Co-op values in a facility that can handle our continued growth and member preferences– to the most complex– be a community hub, offer a full service store AND expand the store to enhance our Co-op as a gathering place.

Most of our owners felt that the Co-op already is a community hub and many supported the remodel of the deli area, adding seating. Some liked our deli as is and didn’t want it to grow. Some were worried about our store being located in a flood and tsunami zone. Some specifically wanted wider aisles and less crowding while shopping, not to mention those that commented on the importance of increasing the number of restrooms in the store. Finally, as one member said, “We are already growing, so it’s not a question of whether, but how.”

The other conversation stations at the Forum focused on: Advocacy and Education; Local Food; Environmental Sustainability; Building Resiliency; and a general question regarding our level of community investment: In essence should we focus on running a grocery store or doing more to lead the growth in the local economy? Generally our members urged us to keep doing what we’re doing, be careful, don’t waste resources, work with others AND be more than just a grocery store. Well, at least that’s my take on what I heard. The beautiful thing about a Co-op is that we all hear something a bit different, which makes for some rich and juicy conversations!

Next, the Strategic Planning Committee and Board of Directors will take what we’ve heard, mix it with the randomly selected owner survey results; owner feedback from daily conversations and the time board members spent at the Alcove; and information from facilitated focus group responses– we’ll stir and condense all this input into what we think will be our best strategic direction. It’s a process, one for which we don’t have a set completion date. We plan to share our progress-to-date with Co-op owners at our Annual Meeting  on June 3rd. Afterward that we’ll keep working with the information we have to create a formal proposal we can bring back to owners for your ‘nod’ of approval, hopefully in the early fall.

Please plan on joining us at our Annual Meeting, Sunday June 3rd at the Port Townsend Community Rec Center from 5-7:30pm. For details click here.

News from the GM: Member Forum/ Survey

April 9th, 2012 by

04.07.12 From the General Manager

Our Board of Directors met on Tuesday, April 3 for their regularly scheduled board meeting. We were short a couple of regular board members however; Henry Werch, a candidate in our current board elections, joined us for the meeting adding appreciated input to the discussion. Most of the meeting we focused on the strategic plan and specifically the upcoming Member Forum. The Forum is one part of our process of “checking in” with our members about their values to see if we are heading in the right direction with regard to the strategic plan development.

The Forum will be on Sunday, April 15 from 5-7:30 pm at the Port Townsend Community Recreation Center and will be an “open house” event where owners can come any time during that period and stay as long as they wish. Each board member is ready to listen to our owners and are looking for owner feedback on our future. Don’t forget there will be other opportunities to let your board know what you value.

Over the next two weeks, our board members will be in the store – usually in the vendor alcove- wearing buttons that say “tell me” as they encourage conversations. Holly O’Neil, our consultant, has spent many hours interviewing a variety of local people and groups asking what they think are the greatest opportunities for the Food Co-op to explore in the future. We are conducting a scientifically random survey of about 2,000 of our owners in May. Again we will be “checking” values to get a read on what is most important to you in 2012 and beyond. While not every member will be asked to fill out a survey, we will be asking questions that echo the same areas as the Member Forum. Our plan is to have all those form of inquiry and feedback interweave and inform our future plan. We will report on our progress to date at our Annual Meeting on June 3 at the Community Center from 5-7:30 pm. After the Annual Meeting we will return to our membership for ratification or endorsement of our strategic plan at the end of the summer. Keep posted for what form that process will take.

I encourage you to attend the Member Forum and speak to our board members when they are in the store.

As ever if you have questions about this process, please address them to our Board of Directors at or you can call me at my office at 360 385-2831.


From the GM – March 3, 2012

March 5th, 2012 by

What an amazing and wonderful first year I’ve had here in Port Townsend. Everyone has been very welcoming and patient with me as I learn my way around this town and our Co-op. I was recently asked what the hardest part of my integration had been and I think it’s simply getting to know everyone. I hadn’t realized how many people I knew at my previous home in Moscow, Idaho, and how many new faces and names I would need to remember here in my new home. If I forget your name please be patient with me a while longer!

In 2011 we worked on many successful projects within the store. Our first accomplishment was the kitchen storage addition. All in all, the entire project went very smoothly, coming in on time and on budget. However, I was shocked to discover that our hot water heater was housed between the electrical panels and the “brains” of our computer system – heat and moisture are not ideal companions for electronics! We quickly added a “hot water hut” to our plans and relocated that beast someplace where it won’t cause any damage. In the midst of doing that project we upgraded much of our outdated IT equipment- a big relief to our staff who had been frustrated by either not enough equipment to get the job done or aging, unstable tools that don’t let them complete their tasks.

During this project we also remodeled a storage room to become a meat preparation space- cold and clean and perfect for keeping our meat at just the right temperature all the way through the cutting and wrapping process. Finally we added a new Grab-n-Go cooler for packaged deli items. Now we have more foods for customers on the go.

2011 was a year of planting seeds: investing in our staff, our equipment and our building. In 2012 we want to make our store easier to shop while planning for the future. As far back as the 2005 member survey, our member’s #2 request was for more dining space. Recently our board approved this project and we’re currently slated to break ground in the fall to enlarge our indoor dining area. Our goal is to add much need breathing room, which, in turn, will allow us to create space in our bulk department.

We’ll soon be replacing an outdated check stand with a more ergonomic version and plan to revamp our Member Services Desk to be more user friendly. We’re replacing some outdated in-store signage, rebuilding our website and working on our customer service. As if that isn’t enough, the Board of Directors is tackling strategic planning, thinking about our long-term future. And it’s our 40th Anniversary year – we’re so looking forward to seeing the fruits of our efforts- and another 40 years of feeding our community. Thank you for helping us.


Introducing our new GM: Kenna Eaton

January 5th, 2012 by

Letter from Kenna (originally printed in the January/February 2011 issue of The Co-op Commons)

Dear Co-op Community,

I am really excited to come to work for the Food Co-op in Port Townsend. I have visited the Port Townsend Food Co-op and the community many times over the past 30 years and have always thought it would be a great place to live.

I think it’s important to note right off the top that this is the only position I applied for. I have a great job in Moscow. I love being the GM of a thriving, robust food co-op. However, with the closing of my husband’s nursery this summer and the kids leaving home, it seemed like serendipity when this position opened up. What an opportunity to realize several dreams at once: living closer to the water, living closer to my son in Portland and still working at an awesome Co-op. I am excited to try and follow in Briar’s footsteps in helping the Port Townsend Food Co-op realize its mission and at the same time help grow the local economy.

During my most recent visit in November I was treated to several tours, the first of which was the store. I think the Co-op has a charming exterior and love the landscaping around the store—somebody really cares for, and about, the gardens and I look forward to enjoying them in warmer weather! Inside I was really impressed by the merchandising and the use of space, especially how well everyone fit into such a small space. However, I can also see that it presents many challenges in both managing inventory and managing staff. I think we’ll have fun figuring out together how best to make the store more effective and useful for everyone this year.

Brendon took me on a wonderful farm tour and we discussed the challenges of finding arable, affordable land for growers, for getting product to market, and projects of the Landworks Collaborative. With my interest in growing plants (I have a degree in Horticulture and originally planned to be a farmer until I discovered how hard the work was) and my passion for good food, I am excited to try and follow in Briar’s footsteps in helping the Port Townsend Food Co-op realize its mission and at the same time help grow the local economy.

Again I am honored and excited to be chosen for this position and look forward to living and working in your community.