Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Know Your New Board: Michael DeLano

I have been involved with co-ops all my life starting at the Lexington Co-op in Buffalo NY doing member hours with my mom and dad, and eventually working as the produce manager there for several years. I was introduced to Credit unions there and have supported worker owned and cooperative model business since. I also am an entrepreneur. I bought out the Homebrew supplies from the co-op when I left and opened my first business Mighty Niagara Brewer, a homebrew supply. I then melded that business into Campus WheelWorks a full service Bicycle shop doing $1 million in sales per year. My latest venture is Ardent Craft ales. I am an original co-op member of the brewers guild and an investor and Board of Directors member. This brewery in RVA is located in Scott’s Addition.

My current job is my dream job. I work for the best bicycle company in the world Giant Bicycle. I am an Account Executive for the DC, VA NC territories and love to ride. Sales is my passion and it melds well with my riding passion and vision of bicycles as the alternative transportation/recreation mode for modern life. I will bring my sales training abilities to the co-op so we can compete with a very competitive marketplace in RVA for groceries.

I am excited to be a part of the early development and implementation of the Richmond Food Co-op. Growing up in a co-op environment as a child I miss the membership and destiny we have with our food source. Richmond has been lacking this vital connection since I moved here in 1999. There are many options for consumers to simply buy their good food from corporations but the voice I had in making sure my ethics and ethos in my food choices is missing. I want to bring back that voice of membership to the food experience in Richmond.

-Michael DeLano, Co-op Board Member

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Know Your New Board: Kristin Klein

Hello!  If you are reading this post, it is because you share my passion for quality food and bringing a member-owned grocery store to Richmond (our first!)  You are also reading this post because you are concerned about doing what is best for the co-op and our future direction.  I want to give you an idea of what I will do for the co-op, and what values I stand behind in bringing this organization forward.

First let me address my values. Richmond needs an affordable, high quality, accessible, organic-minded grocery store (I say organic minded because I am a firm believer in local farmers who do not pay for the organic certification, but still practice all natural food production.)  I think those points are important to highlight – affordability (we need to be able to price our items correctly so that we can keep our doors open, but still be affordable to the majority), high quality and organic-minded – well, keeping pesticides out of our foods and bodies is so important to staying healthy.  

Second, in order to get to the point where we can open our doors, we need two things: 1) more members, and 2) more capital.  I have been working hard to get more members in the door, and continue to be an advocate of the Co-op to my friends, neighbors, and colleagues.  Two of my friends bought a membership to the Co-op as my birthday present! For the capital raise, we are planning to raise capital through a member loan campaign. With my background in Finance – 14 years in the financial services industry - I can help guide the Co-op through the process, and help foresee and prevent possible pitfalls.  

Third, and most importantly: I have been committed to the Co-op for well over a year, and have already planned and executed two successful community events.  Our first event brought more than twenty people to a tour of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and our second event was a fun happy hour at the Cask Cafe.  I have been out there helping in whatever way I can.

-Kristin Klein, Board Member