Be sure to vote for two new board candidates by Friday, October 6, 2017. You will qualify for an upgraded discount from 5% to 10% from November 1-30, 2017 when you vote and complete the survey as an owner (one vote and one discount per owner number).
Vote HERE >>>
RSVP for the annual meeting HERE >>>
View the 2017 Annual Report HERE >>>
Incumbent Board Director
Owner since 2008
Apple Valley, MN
Retail Coach at Spring
Mark has served on the Valley Natural Foods Board of Directors since 2009. He has a strong background in retail, bringing over 25 years of work experience to the board. He has a passion for healthy living and helping others. He seeks reelection to continue to serve the community by providing direction and guidance to fulfill the long-range goals of our co-op. As a seasoned board director, he’s familiar with these goals.
When it comes to important issues, Mark focuses on two priorities. The first issue involves planning. He understands the board’s need to identify and implement a strategic plan for growth. This will ensure Valley Natural Foods remains viable among increased competition in the Twin Cities market. Second, Mark understands the connection between owners and community involvement. It improves visibility so others can experience how the co-op impacts the greater community.
Mark served as a consultant to the Valley Natural Foods Board of Directors for 2 years and is currently serving as an elected board director. He has over 25 years of experience across a variety of disciplines in the retail industry with proven qualifications in strategic planning, merchandising, marketing and business development. Mark is known as a clear, dynamic, and enthusiastic communicator capable of connecting with a diverse audience.
New Board Candidate
Owner Since 2007
Apple Valley, MN
Industry Manager Retail – Esri Software Co.
Gary is a new board candidate with a BA from California State University, Chico in Communications and Public Relations. He has 26 years of merchandising and marketing experience at Target. Gary has been involved in the retail industry for more than 40 years, since working in his father’s stores as a kid. Gary believes that strong, local retail is essential to building strong communities and the co-op represents a great example of a local business that invests in the community.
Gary believes retail is in a time of disruption with competition reaching the co-op’s customers. He understands that Valley Natural Foods will need to improve ownership engagement through the co-op’s established brand and store experience to continue growth. Another key issue to Gary concerns the co-op’s mission to enable healthy communities. He believes this is where the co-op has an advantage because it is local. He also recognizes changing Dakota County demographics, including increased at-risk communities. He believes that being able to react locally and support the community is what a co-op does best.
Gary looks forward to sharing his years of leadership experience and deep understanding of the retail industry to help the co-op continue to grow and thrive. He has experience in every aspect of retail merchandising, store operations, supply chain, and product development; marketing and advertising; campaign planning and execution, media planning and writing and messaging; strategic planning; and a strong background in team leadership, strategy development and execution.
New Board Candidate
Owner Since 2015
VP Finance with Advanced BioEnergy
Christine is a new board candidate with an MBA in financial management. She has a business background and a “wellness mentality.” Her business experience includes both management of and hands-on experience with budgeting, forecasting, financial modeling, capital project analysis and evaluation, financial statement analysis and audits. She loves shopping at Valley Natural Foods to support her wellness goals, and appreciates that VNF is not a “big box” natural foods store.
When it comes to competition, Christine recognizes the importance of understanding the nature of the co-op’s competition and what drives consumer decisions. She recognizes the increasing competition from big box retailers that continue to carry broader offerings similar to what the co-op carries. She believes it is important to understand what compels a shopper to drive a longer distance or go out of their way to shop at VNF, versus simply stopping at their nearest store. She also understands that as more consumers grow health and environmentally conscious, more vendors and products will enter the market. She believes this presents VNF with both opportunities and challenges. She feels that a perpetual challenge in the business would be to continually seek out new products while maintaining the quality and integrity customers have come to expect, balancing shelf space issues with sourcing and supporting local vendors.
Christine’s solid understanding of financial operations would allow her to assist in the evaluation of potential co-op projects or products to help Valley Natural Foods remain competitive while continuing to fulfill its mission, vision and strategic direction. She brings relevant knowledge from the consumer perspective and understands business management, investor relations and human resources. She continues to learn and read about health and wellness on a personal level.
Incumbent Board Candidate
Owner Since 2016
Apple Valley, MN
Clinical Content Specialist
Kate is a new board candidate with a BS in BioBehavioral Health, an MPH in Health Behavior and Health Education, and is a Certified Health Education Specialist. She’s worked extensively with international and multi-community non-profits critical to food access, including the SPOON Foundation and the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition. Kate is passionate about sustaining and growing the critical role Valley Natural Foods plays in the surrounding community to improve food access and to engage the community through service, education and empowerment.
Kate acknowledges that the co-op will need to gracefully navigate its store expansion while continuing to grow its fresh meats and bakehouse businesses, and community programs. She also understands the importance of the co-op to differentiate itself from other grocery competitors through better meeting the needs of the changing demographics of the surrounding communities.
Having served as an interim board member the past few months, Kate has learned more about the co-op. This has heightened her excitement and passion about what the co-op is doing and the direction it is going. In addition to her board experience, Kate brings vital work experience and expertise to the board, including strategic planning, grant writing, copywriting, copyediting, multimedia communication, volunteer coordination, qualitative research, community-based participatory research, and adult education. Kate wants to use these skills, in partnership with co-op staff, owners, and the community, to better understand the needs of the Valley Natural Foods ownership and community, improve engagement, and grow the co-op’s impact.