Co-Op welcomes community support

by Citizen’s Co-Op Board of Directors

A year after the membership uprising at the Citizen’s Co-Op, and months after a settlement with the fired workers (see Iguana April 2014), the co-op finds itself with a new invigorated board, and an effective manager in Kim Drummond. The co-op will be celebrating Drummond’s year-anniversary, the longest tenure of any general manager.

Kelsey Naylor, one of the fired workers and now a board member, sees the Co-op as a valuable community asset and has been active in engaging old and potential new membership.

“The co-op has seen a lot of change as of recent,” said Naylor. “I encourage those who walked away in the past year to reach out to me and consider getting involved again. I am forever grateful for the outpour of support for myself and fellow workers last year. A large faction of the co-op membership spoke up last Spring and it pained me to see their voices ignored … but it also pains me to give up on something with so much potential because of a select few who made really terrible choices. I’m so happy to see both a store manager with skill, ethics and determination running the store as well as some new faces, including myself, on the board of directors. This gives me a lot of hope for the co-op. Those factors alone are not enough, however. This is a community-owned store and we need our community to rally back around us.”

In addition to ex-employee and union co-founder Naylor, the current board consists of benevolent veterans Rob Brinkman and Rick Nesbitt, producer-owner representative Jordan Brown (Family Garden), and has welcomed Neal Devine as worker-owner representative, supporter Windy Wood, and Sequential Artists Workshop founder Tom Hart as member-owner representative.

Hart, whose Sequential Artists Workshop has shared courtyard space with Citizen’s Co-Op and the CMC for 3 years said, “I’ve seen traffic at the co-op rise and fall and rise again over these three years, but more importantly, in the best of times I saw the co-op work as an active and engaged community space. As a board member, I hope to build connections among producers and community members. I’d like anyone who believes in local economics, shared resources and community engagement to take in the new vibe with a shop — meet Kim and the staff and continue this years-long dialogue.”

Hart continued, “To be frank, the co-op is too valuable an asset to lose. We want to plan for the future of the co-op, and for that we need your support now. The board and the staff are here to listen and support you back.

“Talk to us at the co-op. With your support and voice, this asset can be around in the community for generations of Gainesvillians.”

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