Stocking the Coop Shelves Pandemic Style

Valeria Trucchia Illustrator

By Leah Koenig

From extended entrance lines and plexiglass checkout stations, to paid staff temporarily replacing member work shifts, the Coop has seen its share of pandemic-induced changes. But one change that flies under the radar for some members is the herculean effort it takes to keep the shelves adequately stocked during these unprecedented times.


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What a Time to Start a Job: the Pandemic and the New Receiving Coordinator

Caroline Mardok Photographer
Moussa Thiam Coop coordinator

By Frank Haberle

In the relatively worry-free days of last September, longtime Brooklyn resident and Coop member Moussa Thiam struggled with a worrisome decision: should he abandon a successful but frenetic 25-year career as a Chef, or set aside his lifelong dream of building a successful film production company that created and promoted new films from Africa?


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Update: Coop Finances Post-Pandemic

Caty Bartholomew  Illustrator

By Christopher Cox

The radical changes to the Coop during the pandemic have protected member-owners and workers alike, but they have been costly. According to General Coordinator Joe Holtz, in late March, when member labor requirement was suspended and shopping hours were restricted, the Coop was losing as much as $120,000 a week compared to the year before. That’s number is now approximately $95,000. In previous years, the Coop has run a modest weekly profit.


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STAFF AT THE COOP

Like so many, I appreciate the Coop’s staff who, like many workers across the city, keep coming to work. Unfortunately, the members are not working now, but this does not mean we are any less a member labor coop. I think we should return to the model of member labor (adjusted as needed for safety) that has served us so well for 47 years. Two pages I heard when I shopped this week led me to think that some of the staff at the Coop have forgotten about that model now that it has been only staff running the Coop for almost three months. 

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Coop’s Meat Supply Chain Stable Despite Rollercoaster

Maggie Lempert, the Coop’s Meat Buyer and Receiving Coordinator has built her career around small livestock farming. Photo by John Midgley

 

By Hayley Gorenberg 

Despite a huge spike in sales in the early days of the pandemic followed by a steep plunge, the Coop’s meat supply has been relatively stable amidst Covid-19, showcasing the resiliency of smaller, more responsible producers and processors. 

     The stability contrasts sharply with the major disruptions in the more industrial national meat supply chain as several consolidated factory meat processors shut down amid Covid-19 outbreaks among workers. 


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Sheltering and Schooling in Place – Coop Families Reflect on Remote Learning

Imani Larrier is teaching 4th grade remotely while her college-age son studies from home. Photo by Rachel Blatt

 

By Rachel Blatt 

This time last year, Imani Larrier, a longtime Coop member and New York City teacher, was preparing to be an empty nester. “I was getting ready to send my youngest child off to college. I went through that whole emotional roller coaster.” Fast forward to this spring and Imani’s son was back home, attending his college classes remotely while she taught 4th graders from her kitchen.  


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First Virtual General Meeting Focuses on Struggling Coop Finances

Illustration by Tommy Kane

By Leila Darabi 

The Coop made history on the evening of May 26, convening the first virtual General Meeting of its membership. No voting took place during the meeting, which focused heavily on the financial blow the Coop has weathered over the past two months due to citywide Covid-19 safety restrictions. More than 750 participants joined the meeting, including the staff and board slated to speak.  


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THANK YOU NOTE

  Thanks, you guys—board, staff, temporary staff, General Coordinators—tonight  was a great meeting that provided us all with the deep reassurance that we are in excellent hands moving forward—whatever happens. How wonderful to get to feel that about something these days.   Take care, continue being safe, and stay well.  Blessings, Heidi Oleszczuk A Very Proud Coop Member 

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LETTER FROM THE EDITORS

DEAR FELLOW MEMBERS, Welcome to the third issue of the digital Gazette. Going digital has long been of interest to the Editorial Team,  and the changes wrought by Covid-19 led to a quick creation and launch. We saw an urgency to maintain the community ties that the Gazette endeavors to achieve, and erred on the side […]

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TO THE EDITORS:


Had the Coop in its 47 or so years of operation thought to meet the needs of its senior and disabled members and had a shopping delivery program in place, instead of first floating a plan in late 2019, the Coop would be meeting the needs of those senior and disabled persons. Continue Reading →

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Nathan Allman

By Thomas Rayfiel

Nathan Allman, who became a Coop member relatively late in life but whose influence on the Coop began long before, died on March 22 of complications resulting from the coronavirus. He was 85. Nathan joined the Coop in 2007, when he married Ellen Krüger Allman, and retired in 2010, one of the first members eligible to do so under the Coop’s age-related retirement policy. Long before that, in the early 1980s, then an insurance broker, he sold the Coop its first employee health insurance policy—to current General Manager Joe Holtz. But Joe had a problem getting services, and abruptly switched to a new policy with a different provider. Joe recalls the phone call he received from Nathan: Continue Reading →

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