Valley Natural Foods is a 2014 Top 100 Workplace in Minnesota

The Star Tribune names Valley Natural Foods one of the Top 100 Workplaces in Minnesota. The Star Tribune published the Top Workplaces special section on Sunday, June 15, 2014. Valley Natural Foods ranked 12th on the midsize company list.

The list is broken down into separate large, midsize and small company categories, representing 100 different businesses across Minnesota.

CLICK HERE to view the report.

As a 37-year-old community-owned food co-op in Burnsville, this is ValleyNatural Foods’ first time on the list. Over the last six years, rapid growth has increased the store’s staffing levels by 40 percent, growing the employee base from around 100 employees in 2008 to 170 in 2014. Paula Sahin, the store’s Human Resources Manager, attributes the growth to many things.

“We create an environment where people know that the work they do matters,” Sahin said. “It is the purpose behind their work that makes the difference. Our staff learns  how the co-op business model differentiates us: by creating an opportunity to have ownership in a local business as well as supporting sustainable careers. Valley Natural Foods is the perfect place for people who share our mission of creating a healthy community.”

It is also the co-op’s community-owned business structure and the company’s F.R.E.S.H values focused on family, relationships, education, sustainability and health that help create the store’s culture of service. Valley Natural Foods has ten employees graduating  in 2014, including seven from high school, one with an associate’s degree, two with Bachelor’s degrees and one with a Ph.D. Sahin indicated that the co-op also honors people’s backgrounds, family histories, special talents and customer service knowledge.

“We have an educated staff that uses its talents to teach and create sustainable communities to serve others,” Sahin said. “It is this culture of service that makes a language of difference.”

The co-op also focuses on offering year-around in-house training, cross training and professional development opportunities to its employees. Careers are available to those individuals that align with the store’s mission and values, in addition to being passionate, patient, and committed toward offering great performance and service.  Co-ops serve and employ people of all ages and backgrounds as part of their commitment to serving the diverse demographics that exist in our communities; this can be experienced at Valley Natural Foods as well.

“You see the same customers coming in and it is all about fostering relationships with them which makes it fun to work here,” said Dylan France, Front End Supervisor, Valley Natural Foods, who represents the Millennial generation. “I like that the co-op’s focus is on providing healthy diet and nutrition options which is becoming mainstream in our society.”

Valley Natural Foods: Where Profession, Partnership and Purpose Meet. CLICK HERE for a current list of career opportunities, entry-level to leadership.

About the Star Tribune’s 2014 Top Workplace Edition: To qualify for the Star Tribune Top Workplaces, a company must have more than 50 employees in Minnesota. Over 2,000 companies were invited to participate. Rankings were composite scores calculated purely on the basis of employee responses.  Produced by the same team that compiles the 23-year-old Star Tribune 100 report of the best-performing public companies in Minnesota, Top Workplaces recognizes the most progressive companies in Minnesota based on employee opinions measuring engagement, organizational health and satisfaction.  The analysis included responses from over 58,600 employees at Minnesota public, private and nonprofit organizations.  The rankings in the Star Tribune Top 100 Workplaces are based on survey information collected by WorkplaceDynamics, an independent company specializing in employee engagement and retention.




  • September 20, 2014


    Congratulations on making it to the list folks! That’s a pretty cool achievement!

    Almost more than the delicious food, my favorite part about shopping at co-ops is a chance to interact and connect with folks who are interested in creating not just a sustainable diet, but a stronger community and thus a better world!

    I think at the root of that are the values of your organization. I’ve been working on a business project and it’s amazing how many people have told me that the ‘why’ is really what a customer is looking for, the product is usually just an extension of that. Plus F.R.E.S.H. is an awesome acronym. Haha!

    Anyway, big changes start with small ones, love the work you’re doing!


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