Valley Natural Foods General Manager Susan McGaughey to retire after 37 years of service

Valley Natural Foods long-time General Manager Susan McGaughey has announced her plan to retire in October 2017. Susan has led our south metro co-op for 37 years, overseeing VNF’s growth from a small storefront to a thriving venture with more than 12,000 member-owners, two wholesale operations, and a meat processing subsidiary.

The board has formed a succession committee and retained Keystone Search to guide the search for a new leader, who will be in place by early October to allow for a smooth transition with Susan.

“We are deeply grateful for Susan’s years of inspired and dedicated leadership,” says board chair Michael Jensen. “We have much to celebrate right now — our 40th anniversary, Susan’s 37 years of amazing service, and our imminent plans for expansion.”

Under Susan’s leadership, VNF built our 10,000 square-foot facility and quickly added 3,300 square feet, additional mezzanine space for offices, community gardens and a teaching garden. Planning now is underway for a 4,000-square-foot retail expansion, set to open in spring 2018.

During her tenure, VNF also has expanded community service and education programs and launched the subsidiary Valley Natural Meats and two wholesale operations, Down in the Valley Bakehouse, a certified gluten-free facility, and Down in the Valley Meats. Last summer, we purchased 16 acres of farmland and a meat processing plant in Northfield to serve the growing needs of local farmer-producers.

“As Valley Natural Foods searches for a new leader, the board remains deeply committed to our more than 12,000 member-owners and to the values that will continue to drive the organization: family, relationships, education, sustainability and health,” says Jensen. “We are grateful to be in a financially healthy position and to have the support of our community.”

In announcing her retirement, Susan said, “Valley Natural Foods has provided much more than a livelihood for me; it has been a workplace with values, a place where the authentic relationships we build and the products we sell support our customer’s health while supporting the health of our planet. I am deeply grateful to my staff, many who have been here more than 10 years, to the board of directors, who are passionate about the mission of this cooperative, and to the member-owners who have made my 37 years here interesting and worthwhile.”

About Valley Natural Foods

Valley Natural Foods has been providing the metro Twin Cities area with healthy food choices since 1977. Through expertise in sustainable practices and educational programs, the co-op helps shoppers, more than 12,000 member-owners, and food growers and providers eat and live well together. The main store offers a full selection of produce, groceries, and meat and seafood, as well as a fresh deli, juice bar and drive up window for coffee, juice, and smoothies, muffins and scones. Adjacent to the store are community gardens and a teaching garden with nearly 200 varieties of veggies and herbs, medicinal plants and herbs, and native plants that act as pollinators.

Valley Natural Foods also has two wholesale operations: Down in the Valley Bakehouse, which produces a line of gluten- and peanut-free products, and Down in the Valley Meat, which offers meats from local farms that meet rigorous humane standards. The co-op recently launched a subsidiary, Valley Natural Meats, located on 16-acres of farmland in Northfield, to process certified organic and grass-fed cattle, hogs, bison, sheep and goats.

National Cooperative Grocer (NCG) has recognized Valley Natural Foods as a Coefficient Sustainability Star for three consecutive years of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and diverting 80 percent of what goes to landfill, and Dakota and Scott Counties recognized Valley Natural Foods as an Employer of Choice in 2016.  In 2014 and 2015, the Star Tribune named Valley Natural a “top workplace.”