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Menomonie Market Food Co-op Finishes 2020 with 4 Awards

This has been a big year for Menomonie Market Food Co-op in so many ways. From changing our daily store operations on a dime when the pandemic began to building and launching our eCommerce website this summer (a project we didn’t intend to start until 2022 or 2023), our team has managed to complete project after project during what’s been one of the most stressful times many of us have ever experienced. I can tell you firsthand, it has not been easy, and the work certainly isn’t finished yet, but as challenging and exhausting as these last several months have been, they have been equally as rewarding.

I for one could not be more proud of all our team has accomplished this year. I once told Crystal that we’re doing the best work of our lives right now and making it harder and harder for ourselves to top what we’ve already done. I meant it as a joke at the time, but that’s especially true now as I briefly take a breath and reflect on the innovative projects we’ve completed this year, as well as the awards we won for them from our peers in the grocery industry. Those include:

Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Grant: In May, we were selected to receive a Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin Grant in the amount of $44,710 from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection to help us expand our work of strengthening the local food system and increasing local food options.

FMI Community Outreach Award: In November, we received honorable mention in the Programs Addressing Hunger category of Food Marketing Institute’s (FMI) 2020 Outreach Awards for our Double Dollars nutrition incentive program.

WEDC We’re All Innovating Award: In early December, we were named a top winner of one of three major categories—Technology Innovation to Address COVID-19 Impacts on Businesses—in the We’re All Innovating Contest hosted by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) in partnership with the Wisconsin Technology Council. A panel of 182 volunteer judges selected the eCommerce website we launched in response to the pandemic to win, and we received a financial award of $17,250 to help offset the unexpected costs incurred to complete the project.

Progressive Grocer GenNext Award: In mid-December, I was named one of forty honorees under forty years of age in the 2020 GenNext Awards hosted by Progressive Grocer, the #1 media company in the grocery industry, for leading the launch of our eCommerce website this summer, as well as other notable achievements during my tenure at our co-op.

Never in our wildest dreams did we imagine we would receive so much recognition for what we’ve done this year because winning awards is certainly not the reason we took on this work. Our priority then and now is ensuring our shoppers can always shop at our store safely and supporting local producers as much as we can. But having our efforts recognized on state and national levels has been a light to us in this dark year, and I’m so excited to see what comes next for our talented team.

This article was originally published in the January/February 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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