Food Co-op seeking four new board members
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Food Co-op customer Curt Sicklovan purchases his lunch from Seth Hager on Monday. Co-op management made a presentation to the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce on Monday.

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — The Port Townsend Food Co-op celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, and it hopes to be around for at least 40 more years, a Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce audience was told Monday.

To aid the co-op through what promises to be a period of transition, the store at 414 Kearney St. in Port Townsend is actively seeking applicants for four board positions that will be vacated when current terms expire in the spring.

“For a lot of people, being on the co-op board has not exactly been on their bucket list,” said current board chair Sam Gibboney, who is one of those leaving the board this spring.

“But we have had some strong board members who have made decisions and set the directions for the co-op.”

Aside from Gibboney, positions held by Steve Moore and Sally Lovell also will be vacant.

The position held by Ruth Apter, who resigned in 2012, is still vacant.

Information about the open positions is available from www.foodcoop.coopcq or by phoning 360-385-2883.

Candidates must be member-owners of the co-op.

The co-op has about 6,500 active owner-member shoppers, although the entire membership exceeds 20,000.

At Monday's meeting, attended by about 30 people at the Port Townsend Elks Club, Gibboney and General Manager Kenna Eaton discussed the co-op's strategic plan, the first in its history.

The plan covers five areas: market position, food system development, internal-capacity building, environmental sustainability and education outreach.

“We want the community to have access to all the information they need to make the right decisions about food,” Eaton said, didn't

“We expect it will change, but with the plan we were able to build a culture of strategic thinking at the co-op.”

Eaton said the co-op hopes to expand its operations, but the specific plans to do so are under development.

The store recently added a 500-square-foot dining facility and hopes to develop the outside dining area this summer.

Additionally, there will be several changes to the interior of the store, Eaton said, to take advantage of available space in the building that once was a bowling alley.

“We want to straighten the diagonal aisles to give the shoppers more room,” Eaton said.

“You shouldn't be surprised if you walk in to the store one day and everything is somewhere else — it may be a little disorienting.”

Eaton said co-op shoppers have a little less space than in a larger supermarket.

“It can get crowded, and sometimes people in the aisles are bumping butts,” she said.

“No one likes that.”

Part of the plan is to be more inclusive and encourage people who don't normally shop at the co-op to visit the store.

The average co-op shopper is older than 55 and female, although there is a diversity of customers, Gibboney said.

Eaton said the store should actively recruit a different demographic.

“At some point [the current customers] are all going to die, so we need to get more young people to come in,” she said.

Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at

Last modified: February 04. 2013 6:21PM
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