Combined Board Looking Ahead after Merger

We just completed our first full meeting as a new board since merging with Just Local Food Cooperative, and all members are eager to get to work on transforming two locations into one amazing co-op! Merging two food cooperatives is no small order. Luckily, ours has an amazing leader in Crystal Halvorson guiding us through every detail and ensuring the merger embodies the ends of both MMFC and JLF. An enormous thank you goes out to Crystal for all of her hard work managing the legal, financial, HR, operational, and a host of other changes throughout the merger while still preserving the culture in each location and setting us up to have an even bigger impact in the Chippewa Valley.

The staff at both stores also deserve a huge thank you for all of their efforts and additional work that went into the merger. Their talent, dedication, and enthusiasm was instrumental in getting us to this point. The board of directors at each cooperative also deliberated, brainstormed, and conceptualized how a merger could benefit all stakeholders (owners, customers, vendors, and staff). Both boards, especially the collaboration committees, deserve a big thank you for all their work leading up to the merger vote.

Lastly, we want to thank all of you, the owners of both co-ops, for showing your support of the merger by voting yes. Both cooperatives voted 95% in favor of merging! It is immensely encouraging to see how powerful the cooperative model can be and how working together can lead us to the betterment of owners, farmers, producers, staff, and the Chippewa Valley community.

Karlee Wallin, Kathy Mitchell, Kyle Lehman, and myself will join Rick Remington, Mariann Holm, Barb Button, Sarah Paquette, and Susan Krahn as the board of directors during the first chapter of our merged co-op. I can say with confidence, we are all grateful for the opportunity to serve a larger ownership, and we look forward to working with and learning from owners in both communities. Speaking as a former member of the JLF board, we are honored to join forces with MMFC. The merger enables us to give more meaningfully to programs that align with our values, provides growth and career opportunities for staff, increases our ability to support local farmers and producers, and ultimately empowers us to further strengthen our local food systems. It also positions us for a larger store in Eau Claire, but that’s for a future newsletter!

Cheers to a bright future and more tables filled with delicious, local food!

This article was originally published in the November/December 2021 issue of our bi-monthly newsletter, The Morsel. If you’d like to read more stories like this one and stay up to date on the latest co-op news and events, pick up a print copy in-store on your next grocery run or find more news on our website here.

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