View Eric's resume here.
Why would you like to serve on the City Market Board? What excites you about becoming a Board Member?
I am finishing my first term as Vice President of the Co-op Board and it’s been 3 solid years of learning, as the Co-op is a complex, 2 store community enterprise, which aims to enrich the community we all love.
The level of connection to the Co-op, versus other neighboring grocery stores, both among members and people running for the board, demonstrates what an important part of the community the Co-op has become. It’s not simply a grocery store it’s a community cornerstone where I trust in the food for my family and a place that shares my belief in supporting local producers, businesses, arts, and community. It is a movement and a concept that I work hard to support and grow.
In my first term, the Co-op has grown to 2 stores, increased revenues, grown a larger workforce, while also facing an expected negative bottom line to fund that expansion. With growth comes the need for continued oversight and governance that the board and I are able and excited to provide.
Please describe any professional skills you have that will help you to be an effective Board Member. How would you help the Board to balance the business needs of a $50 million business with the need to meet our Global Ends as a community-owned cooperative?
I have worked over the last decade in social mission driven organizations, primarily focused on fiscal management. In Burlington I worked in finance at Seventh Generation, an environmentally focused mission driven business, and I currently serve as the Director of Finance at the United Way of Northwest Vermont, a nonprofit dedicated to strengthening the local community. I bring a balanced perspective of community benefit and business sustainability to my role on the board and I feel passionate about the fact that as a community owned cooperative, this key business in our community will always remain locally owned and focused.
Describe your prior involvement with community organizations and/or cooperatives. What did you learn from these experiences?
I have spent the vast majority of my career working in the nonprofit sector and the last 3 years serving on the Co-op’s Board of Directors, now as Vice President. I’ve learned that belief in a mission and working with colleagues who share that motivation is one of the most powerful factors in an organization achieving success. I’ve also learned that an eye on organizational management and financial sustainability is essential to mission impact.
What opportunities and challenges do you see in the future of City Market?
The priorities that City Market holds, beyond its core business, such as supporting local agriculture, eliminating hunger, and upholding environmental causes are all becoming more and more important to achieve in our local and global climates. This means that City Market will need to work harder to move these forward while competing in a changing grocery market. Expansion to 2 stores was key to the Co-op’s ability to further its priorities, although with City Market now operating at a planned deficit for a couple of years, it is all the more important that we demonstrate our value to members, staff, and the community.