Prairie Food Co-op Community Grocery

Jenny Chidlow

  • published General Manager in Jobs 2023-03-02 07:32:04 -0600

    General Manager

    We're Hiring


    General Manager Position Description


    The General Manager will integrate daily business management practices with the cooperative principles and values vital to our mission and Ends statements.

    Our Mission 

    Prairie Food Co-op is a community-owned and democratically operated grocery store dedicated to strengthening our economy and creating a marketplace for transparently labeled, local, organic, and sustainable food. 

    Our Ends 

    PFC exists so that…

    …there is a community-owned grocery store in DuPage county that provides
    a welcoming, engaging, and inclusive food experience.

    …customers and owners have access to products from local, organic and
    fair-trade farmers and artisans, thereby supporting a broader food economy.

    …owners, customers, employees, and management can share a safe and respectful environment that fosters open communication and embodies the overall mission.

    …the community has open access to ongoing educational programming
    related to the impact and benefits of supporting the food ecosystem.

    …a vibrant gathering place, operated in a financially viable, environmentally sustainable and socially responsible manner, will be available for generations
    to come.

    The General Manager will structure the business operation, select vendors and stock the floor, hire and train the staff and introduce the unique concept to the public at large. The General Manager should have the drive, personality, and leadership skills to motivate and encourage staff to provide the appropriate responsive and enjoyable customer environment and be able to address the concerns and needs of a wide group of stakeholders in this enterprise.

    Key Responsibilities 

    Financial and Planning

    • Develop and recommend to Board long-and short-range plans for success.
    • Develop operating, cash, and capital budgets for Board approval; interpret financial information for laypeople.
    • Direct all financial operations of the cooperative.
    • Investigate new products and services opportunities.
    • Provide information to the Board in a timely manner.
    • Participate in regional and national Co-op and industry events.


    • Initially focus on optimal store layout, flow and décor and contract with vendors, distributors, and local providers for opening inventory.
    • Ensure a profitable, growing business.
    • Maintain knowledge of natural foods retailing and industry trends.
    • Identify and maintain appropriate relations with wholesale distributors, local markets, and other industry sources.
    • Ensure the establishment and maintenance of a product mix that meets shopper/member needs.
    • Plan and execute a margin strategy designed to be price competitive and maintain adequate profit for growth.
    • Ensure compliance with all applicable laws regarding licenses, permits, health regulations, employment, etc.


    • Oversee compliance with PFC’s personnel policies and update as needed.
    • Hire, supervise and evaluate, management staff, including taking disciplinary action as needed.
    • Develop a staff organizational structure that promotes fair distribution of work while maintaining maximum service to customers.
    • Prepare a yearly payroll budget that meets operating budget constraints.
    • Ensure a safe, inclusive, healthy workplace for employees.
    • Ensure adequate training of staff.


    Limited responsibilities initially as-needed support for current Ownership & Outreach/Communications Committees until further notice but may include any of the following:

    • Develop an advertising, marketing, and community outreach strategy to increase public awareness of PFC’s products and services.
    • Execute the advertising and marketing plan within budgetary guidelines.
    • Aggressively communicate information about the business to the membership through newsletter, social media and an annual report.
    • Prepare or oversee store displays, signage, and other promotions to maximize marketing impact.

    Perform other duties assigned by the Board of Directors


    Experience in the natural foods industry, independent grocery stores, and/or cooperative strongly preferred.

    For more information about required and desired qualifications, and to apply for the position, please view the posting here.

    Prairie Food Coop is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not unlawfully discriminate in employment. 

  • published Seven Co-op Principles in About Us 2023-01-12 20:42:29 -0600

    Seven Co-op Principles

    In addition to our mission, Prairie Food Co-op is dedicated to following and promoting the core principles that cooperative businesses around the world operate by. These principles, along with the cooperative purpose of improving the quality of life for their members, make cooperatives different from other businesses.

    What is a Cooperative Business Anyway?

    A Cooperative is a business owned by and operated for the benefit of those using its services. Law dictates that profits generated by a Cooperative be distributed among Owners or re-invested in the business to expand products and services. There are several different types of co-ops: consumer co-ops such as


     Prairie Food Co-op, producer co-ops such as Organic Valley, worker co-ops such as Equal Exchange, and housing co-ops. Credit unions (maybe you belong to one!) are financial co-ops. 

    In food co-ops such as ours, you become an owner by buying two shares of the business — joining with your neighbors to provide the money that allows the co-op to exist. Your investment demonstrates that you support the mission of Prairie Food Co-op - to open a full service grocery store dedicated to strengthening our local economy and supporting local, sustainable food production. Your investment helps create a more responsible and just food system.

    Food co-ops are not a new idea or niche market. There are more than 250 food co-ops in the US that generate over $1.4 billion in annual revenue and owned by over 1.3 million consumer Owners. Collectively, food co-ops are the third largest buyer of natural foods.


    The Co-op Difference

    A recent study documents the social and economic impact that food cooperatives have on their local communities. This study identified five key impact categories:
    • Supporting Local Food Systems
    • Employment and Job Quality
    • Economic Impact
    • Environmental Stewardship
    • Promoting Healthy & Sustainable Foods.

    Food co-ops are different from a typical chain grocer in many ways. In fact, the United Nations declared 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives to highlight the important role that cooperatives play in creating employment and strengthening communities across the globe.

  • published Board of Directors in About Us 2023-01-12 20:31:35 -0600

    Meet Our Board of Directors

    The board of directors is responsible for leading the co-op and guiding the organization. They have been elected by Owners to act on their behalf. The board is committed to absorbing the ownership's needs and wants and making the best decisions for the organization as a whole.

    In Spring 2015, the Board was awarded a competitive $10K seed grant from Food Co-op Initiative based on the strength of the organization, strong leadership, and potential for success. The Board also received "2017  Outstanding Cooperator" and "2020 Co-op Innovator" awards at national "Up and Coming" Food Co-op Conferences. Of hundreds of organizing Co-ops, PFC continues to standout and receive national recognition for hard work, dedication, excellence, and innovation. 


    The board is comprised of nine to eleven members, depending on current needs. Elections are held annually every Spring, where Owners elect Directors to serve as their voice on the Board. PFC Owners are welcome and encouraged to run for the board, vote for the board, and attend monthly board meetings to stay abreast of the progress towards opening our grocery store. 

    Many thanks to PFC Owner, professional photographer, and DuPage County Board Member Sheila Rutledge for the headshots.

    Leslee Keri

    Leslee Keri


    Quinn Coulson

    Vice President

    Tom Lamberty


    Gerry Haptas


    Jess Buttimer


    Erica Cutts


    Jerry Nash


    Kathy Nash


    Dorothy Swit


  • donated 2015-09-22 19:24:45 -0500