Gail Anderson

Position: 
Board Member

Our family has been patronizing the Co-op for 13 years, starting with an occasional visit when we were in the ADKs. We became members when we moved to Potsdam 4 years ago.

I've enjoyed the fellowship and community spirit of the annual meetings/dinners, many of the promotional events, and last year baked in the Baking Contest.

I have chosen to run for a seat on the Board because I have found in my previous board positions in other organizations it is an effective way to support and nurture an organization: in this case, to see our beloved Co-op thrive.

As a dietitian working with individuals in New York City I shared my intense passion for healthy and sustainable food. Subsequently, I created and owned 2 health oriented restaurants in CT that included a full scale bakery. I also attended the Culinary Institute of America's final semester focusing on the business side of food production. Consequently, I have working knowledge of food purchasing, budgets and personnel management.

I value the Co-op's dedication to quality and sustainability, and its focus on local farmers. The bakery, deli and value-added products contribute to its unique position in the marketplace. I think that trend needs to continue to ensure future viability. I enjoy business, and even though the Co-op is not for profit, it inevitably has to compete in the marketplace.

Shopping at the Co-op is always a pleasant experience, including the tone set by the staff and the added benefit of seeing neighbors and friends. My goal is to focus on outreach to expand membership and to ensure we maintain an identity that will make the Co-op the go-to place for healthy eaters and gourmands alike.

 

Laura Cordts

I have been a Co-op member for a long time.  I can remember packaging at the old Co-op on Market Street, by the bypass.  I joined the Co-op Board in 2013.  Since then I have served as Chair of the Membership Committee, Board Vice-President, and am currently the Board President. I look forward to serving another term!

What do you appreciate most about the Co-op?  As a customer I appreciate the availability of healthy, local, and/or organic food, in a fun and friendly setting.  As a Board member, I have come to appreciate the dedicated staff, our excellent GM Eric, and the many member/owners who choose to be involved with Co-op and ensure we remain viable.

What will you contribute to the Co-op and the Board?  I am certainly interested in food: growing it, cooking and baking it, and eating it!  I also have a keen interest in my own health and the health of our local economy and environment.  For more than 25 years I worked in leadership positions in fund-raising, marketing, and public relations, and last year I took on a new role as Director of Wellness and Sustainability at Canton-Potsdam Hospital.  In addition to my three years of Co-op Board membership, I have been a Board Member and past President of the Potsdam Chamber of Commerce, past-President of the Potsdam Rotary Club, and I am currently on the Potsdam Holiday Fund Board - so know what it takes to govern and help move organizations forward.

What’s your vision for the future of Co-op? With recent minimum wage and salary requirement changes, along with increasing availability of organic and specialty foods at conventional grocers, the Co-op faces some unprecedented challenges.  At the same time, we are seeing a real groundswell of interest in supporting local suppliers, clean eating, and the sharing economy. I see Co-op playing an instrumental role in fostering, supporting, leading, and celebrating those movements here in the North Country. On a more practical note – my vision includes an expanded service deli/bakery, more space to eat-in at Co-op, and an even broader array of locally sourced items available at prices fair to both producer and purchaser.

Jessica Diagostino

Position: 
Board Member

Hello, My name is Jessica Diagostino. I have been a member of the co-op for just over a year. I joined the co-op when I started working for my employer, Wholeshare, in Potsdam, NY. I moved up to Massena in 2013 from Charlotte NC. It was tough moving from a big city where I had access to local, organic, and sustainable foods to the food desert up here. I was thrilled to find the co-op and the different cuts of local meats and fresh organic fruits and veggies!

I unfortunately haven’t been able to get as involved with the co-op as I would have liked. I tried a couple of times to help out with inventory but had other obligations each time it was scheduled. But I feel that this would be a great way to get involved and become a part of the community. I have an extensive background that encompasses customer service, recruiting, adult education and training, basic financial knowledge, and a passion for great food.

My favorite thing about the co-op is the variety. For such a small space, there is an amazing variety of product that appeal to a large number of people. The prepared food section always has something a little different each time and the soups are amazing. There is also no way to leave the co-op without a fresh baked bread!

My only regret is not finding out about the co-op sooner. Moving up here and not knowing many people I didn’t know about the co-op until I started working in Potsdam. My child’s babysitter, who has been living in Massena for 60+ years had never even heard of it! I think a bigger presence in the surrounding areas to get the word out would be beneficial in raising membership numbers. I was also thinking that a pop-up store in Massena would be great too.

My final suggestion would be to increase the social media presence of the Co-op. Like it or not, social media is here to stay and embracing it might help bring in the younger crowd who are taking more of an interest in local and organic foods. There are plenty of colleges and universities around and getting the students attention would be key to bringing them into the shop.

 

Kayla French

Position: 
Board Member

I am a middle and high school English teacher. I am a 46R and a rescue-level scuba diver. I am a reader of books and a drinker of coffee. I am a mother of a son. I am a poet. I am a Virgo. I am a gardener. I love leaving the North Country, and I love returning home to the North Country. I try to live as conscientiously as possible.

Time has gotten away from me, but I think I’ve been a member of the co-op since 2009 or 2010. When I initially joined the co-op, I worked in packaging. It was gratifying to see all those little packages stuffed with their little twist-ties neatly holding them closed. And I thoroughly enjoyed all the conversations I had with people of all walks of life I wouldn’t have met otherwise. Thereafter, my husband and I were your after-hours produce cooler cleaners! We did that job for over a year. Now I am on the newsletter committee where I enjoy playing with language and fixing comma splices.

I appreciate that the co-op is more than a grocery store. It is a gathering space, an educational center, and a hub of community activity and events. As a vegetarian and someone who is health-conscious and environmentally-conscious, I appreciate that the co-op is a place I can shop without worrying about the products I’m purchasing for my family and myself. I also appreciate that, at the co-op, the employees and general manager are open to suggestions and ideas of their customers and are always striving to bring in new products and have new community events, while making sure to keep old favorites around too. At the co-op, I feel like more than a customer. I really have the sense of membership.

I view the co-op as an important hub of our community. This community has given me so much; I am eager for opportunities to serve my community. I see sitting on the Board of Directors of the co-op as the next step in my involvement in what I view as an essential element of Potsdam.

I have experience in event planning, fundraising, editing and writing. I am a skilled public speaker and neurotically well-organized. I am enthusiastic, forward-thinking, and eager to engage in any opportunity to make Potsdam a better place.