Prairie Food Co-op Community Grocery

Quinn Coulson

  • published Crystal Echevarria in PFC Board Candidates 2024 2024-05-13 20:32:08 -0500

    Crystal Echevarria

    Hometown: Lombard

    Owner #: 941

    Why are you interested in serving on the Prairie Food Board of Directors?
    I have enjoyed working with an excellent team of dedicated and passionate individuals since 2019 to open Prairie Food Co-op. We are so close to opening our store! It is important to me to bring a grocery store like PFC to our community where we can shop local products and support local farmers.

    Employment: Please tell us about your Past or Present Employment 
    I own Culinary Confidante (est. 2017) a plant-based culinary education business that provides culinary coaching, cooking parties and workshops. I am currently taking time away from clients to enjoy my fourth baby, who we welcomed last September. Prior to Culinary Confidante, I worked at Northern Illinois Food Bank as the Child Nutrition Programs Manager and then as the Nutrition Center Manager. I have also worked in various roles within the restaurant and hospitality industry for over 20 years.

    Volunteer: Membership/Affiliations past and present
    PFC Ownership & Outreach Committee: 2019-present
    PFC Store Design Committee: 2023-present

    Volunteer: Leadership positions held past and present
    PFC Board of Directors: 2022-2024

    The Co-op Preschool Board of Directors: 2022-present

    Which of the following areas do you have expertise?
    Management;Event Planning;Nutrition, Hospitality & Culinary Arts

    What experience, education, and skills do you have that you feel will contribute to your effectiveness as a Prairie Food Director? 
    During my time on the Ownership & Outreach Committee I have proven my ability to effectively organize events, network within the community and work well with the PFC team. Examples of this include the knife skills workshop, a reusable produce bag sewing workshop, the Ask a Chef series on Facebook live and the virtual Eat Well Be Well workshop. I have also held several management level positions which all required extensive critical thinking, problem solving, and strong interpersonal skills. I hold a Bachelors in Nutrition, Dietetics & Hospitality Administration as well as a Personal Chef Certificate from Kendall College

    What are your personal goals for Prairie Food Co-op?
    I can't wait for Prairie Food to bring local and sustainable foods to our community. Not only will it be a great place to shop but to meet friends as well. My goal is to continue to bring fun and informative culinary workshops to our community through PFC.

    What experiences have you had with food co-ops in the past?
    In college I frequented the Duck Soup Co-op in DeKalb. I definitely loved the bulk bins. Carob covered almonds and glad corn were my favorites! My three older children have attended the Co-op Preschool in Lombard and my fourth will go there as well when she's old enough. I love how involved the parents and the teachers are. It really feels like a community.

    Back to Candidate Page

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  • published Apply for the Board in Get Involved 2024-03-29 17:48:23 -0500

    Apply for the Board

    Are you our next Board member?

    This is an incredible opportunity to become involved in a meaningful community project with a team of passionate and dedicated individuals. This next year will be historic as we build our store, lay the foundation for a successful opening and transition into the next phase of Board leadership as our store becomes operational! We need YOU to make our store a success!

    All Owners are welcome to run. Those with skills in grant writing and management, finance, human resources, and grocery or retail stores would bring valuable skills to our current Board. 

    There are four (4) positions up for election. Elected Board members serve a term of three years (or less, if elected or appointed to a position vacated by a previous Director who did not complete their term).

    All Board Candidates must:

    1. Be a Prairie Food Owner in good standing for at least 3 months (on or before March 1, 2024).
    2. Not have any conflict of interest with Prairie Food Co-op.
    3. Review the candidate packet.
    4. Complete an online application and headshot by April 30.
    5. Register and attend the Candidate Info Session on Thursday, April 18th from 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm via Zoom. Directors will review the role of the Board and expectations for Directors. If you cannot attend the Info Session, contact [email protected] to make alternative arrangements.

    Board Expectations

    As a Board member you will:

    • Participate in twice monthly Board meetings (the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 7:00-9:00 pm). There is an expectation that Board members will reasonably attend all meetings. 
    • be expected to be present at Owner meetings and some outreach events.
    • use shared online management tools; access to the internet and e-mail are required. 
    • oversee the operations and finances of Prairie Food Co-op
    • establish policies to govern operational decisions, and 
    • assure that the purpose and mission of Prairie Food Co-op are properly carried out.

    Additional Board expectations are noted in the candidate packet.

    As Board members can attest, this is a rewarding position and will give you the opportunity to influence policies that will determine Prairie Food’s direction and make our store a reality. Board members will tell you it’s really exciting to take such an active role in the process of starting a co-op in our community.

    Election Process

    Candidate applications are due April 30, 2024. Candidate profiles will be posted online during the second week of May. All Owners in good standing will be given the opportunity to vote for Board candidates. Secure online voting will begin on May 21 and conclude after the Annual Owners’ Meeting on June 9. Paper ballots will be mailed by request only and must be received prior to the Owners’ Meeting to be included in the count. Election results will be announced on June 16, 2024.

     

    Questions?

    Please send us an email

     


  • published March 2024 in GM Junction with Jason 2024-03-10 09:57:14 -0500

    March 2024

    Another significant milestone has been reached, and that is PFC’s Federal HUD grant has been fully executed! We’ve also heard very encouraging news that our state grant is very close to being fully executed. The funds for both of those grants, with a combined total of $1.55M, will be applied towards the buildout phase and cover a large portion of the costs associated with the buildout. Dust off your hardhats!

    In addition to the funding news, we are very close to signing off on our construction contract, which will then open the door to the bidding process. Once we have construction bids approved we will then begin the store buildout phase. 

    A hot topic right now is what product vendors we will be working with once we open. The short answer is many, and my goal is to have at least one hundred local vendors on board before we open. This topic is near and dear to my heart, as I truly believe that farmers and producers should be rewarded for their tireless efforts to bring quality products and food into our lives. Having an established retail setting allows those farmers and producers to benefit from all their hard work. In addition to speaking to many super-local producers (within and just outside of the Lombard vicinity) I have visited at least one farm in Central Illinois, one Central IL distributor of Central and Southern Illinois products and produce, and will be visiting a few more Central Illinois farms later this March. I will also be focusing my efforts in securing primary beef, pork and chicken vendors in the next few weeks.

    The great thing about a co-op is that customers will have exposure to many local producers and farmers that they may have not known even existed. Though PFC’s definition of ‘local’ is within a 200 mile radius of the store (which will include neighboring states like Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa), what excites me is that all of Illinois is considered local. This gives us the opportunity to work with many additional partners downstate and allows us to spread our economic impact to all of Illinois, not just within the aforementioned 200-mile radius. Did you know that there is a Non-GMO rice-growing region in Southern Illinois? Did you know that high quality peaches are being grown in Central Illinois? Did you know that a large percentage  of the produce utilized in Chicago’s finest restaurants is grown right here in Illinois? Stay tuned to learn more!

    I hope you’ve had a chance to stop by the site and take a peek the past couple weeks, as some much needed color has been added to the site in the form of large posters and additional marketing. Thank you to our Ownership and Outreach Committee for putting these together! They certainly add a little more excitement to the site and have been garnering a lot of extra attention. Stay on top of our owner count by checking out the main entrance, which displays our current owner count and is updated with each additional new owner.

    Speaking of owner count (which currently sits at 1817), we want to ramp up our Ownership numbers over the next following months so if you're not a PFC Owner yet, now is the time to become one! Though you don’t have to be a member to shop at PFC, membership benefits include the ability to vote for the PFC board, reap additional member discounts and attend members-only events. Membership is a one-time fee of $200!

    Heads up! PFC is planning its annual Owner’s Meeting, which should take place in April. Information will be coming your way soon! 

    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. 

    Thank you for taking the time to stay up-to-date on all things PFC. 

    See you in the aisles!

    Jason Krapausky
    General Manager
    Prairie Food Co-op


  • published February 2024 in GM Junction with Jason 2024-03-06 12:57:42 -0600

    February 2024

    A huge milestone has been reached as PFC took possession of the site in January! With this step now behind us, we have shifted our focus to our buildout phase. This work entails working closely with our General Contractor, W.B. Olson. First step is finalizing our contract, which should be wrapped up shortly. After that, W.B. Olson will start the contract bidding process for the trades (plumbing, electrical, HVAC, etc). This process can potentially take up to eight weeks. This step is critical because  our federal and state grants having strict requirements in place by which those trades need to abide. It is imperative that we hire the right people, as a misstep here could jeopardize a timely opening!

    On the grant front, both the federal and state grants are awaiting final approval. We hope to have the grant funds very soon!. 

    Hopefully you had a chance to attend our Site Tour Event that took place on Saturday, February 3rd at our location in Eastgate. If you did, thank you for attending! I want to give a big thank you to the Village of Lombard for allowing Prairie Food Co-op to stage this event on-site.  

    MY VISIT TO LITTLETON FOOD CO-OP

    In mid-January, I was given the opportunity to visit Littleton Food Co-op (LFC) in Littleton, New Hampshire, to shadow their General Manager, Ed King for a week. LFC is a well-established co-op, having opened in 2009. It is also a well-respected and accomplished co-op, having won the prestigious Cooperative Excellence Award in 2023.

    During my time there I had the chance to soak in Ed’s wisdom and advice on running a successful co-op. It was a very inspiring experience that included spending time with quite a few of the co-op’s employees, many of whom opened the co-op in 2009 and have worked there since. The employees are engaged, provide great customer service, love what they do, and are all participants in creating an energetic and satisfying shopping experience. You can feel the positive culture and vibe as soon as you walk in the door!  Co-ops exist to serve their communities, and Littleton is no exception as they are intrinsically involved in just about anything and everything in the small community of 6,000 people. Thank you to Ed and his team at  LFC for being so hospitable and allowing me to visit!

    Additional Thank Yous

    I want to take this opportunity to also thank a couple people who have been extremely helpful in this pre-opening journey - John Lawrence and Dean Albright. John is a Project Manager of Oakwood Contractors in McHenry,  and he and his team stored PFC equipment, namely our three checkstands, in his warehouse until we took possession of our site. Once we got possession John had the checkstands delivered from his warehouse in McHenry. Those checkstands come courtesy of Dean, a PFC owner, who was able to source them from another grocer at no cost to PFC. Thank you John and Dean, PFC appreciates your help!

    Thank you for taking the time to stay up-to-date on all things PFC. 

    See you in the aisles!

    Jason Krapausky
    General Manager
    Prairie Food Co-op


  • published Ron Farnum in Our Mission & Board 2022-04-07 11:35:16 -0500

    Ron Farnum

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    "I believe PFC and its farm to basket mission is essential to a healthy Lombard. My entrepreneurial, business & collaboration skills will help the dream of all PFC owners become reality."

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    Owner Number 789
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    Why are you interested in serving on the Prairie Food Board of Directors?
    I want to help PFC push over the line to become a real store as soon as possible!
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    Employment: Please tell us about your past or present employment
    I am the owner of Damen Jackson, a branding agency. I started the agency in 1998 and have recently moved our headquarters to Glen Ellyn.
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    Volunteer: Membership/Affiliation/Leadership Past and Present:
    I have primarily been leading my team over the past 24 years, so I haven't had much time for volunteer work. During my career, I have also closely collaborated with a non-profit fundraising consulting organization to brand major capital campaigns.
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    Which of the following areas do you have expertise?
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    What experience, education, and skills do you have that you feel will contribute to your effectiveness as a Prairie Food Director?
    I have gained significant skills in collaboration, active listening and leading teams.
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    What are your personal goals for Prairie Food Co-op?
    I would really like to help realize the dream of opening the PFC at 100% of its original plan; to help the organization and store come to life without compromise.
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    What experience (if any) have you had with cooperatives, food or otherwise?
    My experience is simply from visiting coops and buying groceries there. I've been an early advocate for PFC because I enjoyed that experience so much.

  • published Erin Hill in PFC Board Candidates 2022 2022-04-07 11:28:36 -0500

    PFC Board Candidate - Erin Hill

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    "I am a PFC owner and investor committed to furthering the success of PFC’s mission."

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    Owner Number 560

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    Why are you interested in serving on the Prairie Food Board of Directors?
    This is a very exciting time for PFC. I have been a member since moving to Elmhurst in 2015. I am in awe of the commitment that the PFC community has made to bring this vision to reality and I believe it is time for me to get more involved. I am interested in joining the board to really help with the transition from a working board to an oversight board and joining the board when it is still a working board will help me to get a sense of where I can best help. I serve or have served on a couple boards for non-profits that were more in the oversight capacity. This transition excites me. I am very committed to the PFC mission and I also believe that I can be of help as it relates to finances and audit.
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    Employment: Please tell us about your past or present employment
    I work for DBRS Morningstar, a credit rating agency. I lead the North American Commercial Real Estate team. I have been in this field for more than 25 years.
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    Which of the following areas do you have expertise?
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    What experience, education, and skills do you have that you feel will contribute to your effectiveness as a Prairie Food Director?
    I have served on non-profit boards in the past. I think that gives me insights on how boards can work. I am a good listener as well and can translate ideas into actionable items.
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    What are your personal goals for Prairie Food Co-op?
    I would like to see continue on its mission to offer the community a place for locally sourced product and educational outreach. Wellness is so important and I believe that PFC is already rooted in this philosophy and I would just like to be a steward to continue to execute on that mission.
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    What experience (if any) have you had with cooperatives, food or otherwise?
    I have experience in finance relating to multi family cooperative housing loans.

  • published Emmarie Burger in PFC Board Candidates 2024 2022-04-07 11:28:27 -0500

    PFC Board Candidate - Emmarie Burger

    • Hometown: Glen Ellyn
    • Owner #: 255
    • Term elected: 2024

     

    Why are you interested in serving on the Prairie Food Board of Directors?
    Previous board member and ready to be a board member again! Excited about the store opening.

    Employment: Please tell us about your Past or Present Employment 
    Retired now; worked for 35+ years for McMaster-Carr Supply Co in Elmhurst. The last 5 years were spent in HR but prior to that, many different management positions including Warehouse, Corporate Finance and Sales.

    Volunteer: Membership/Affiliations past and present
    Glen House Food Pantry, church and past volunteer for many years for the Glen Ellyn Backyard BBQ benefitting Bridge Communities.

    Volunteer: Leadership positions held past and present
    Previous Prairie Food Co-op Board Member

    Volunteer: Honors/Awards Received
    The Helen Plum Library referendum passed!

    Which of the following areas do you have expertise?
    Management;Event Planning

    What experience, education, and skills do you have that you feel will contribute to your effectiveness as a Prairie Food Director? 
    Prior board member, HR experience (hiring of PFC GM), helped with PFC's fund raising and info table and farmer's markets.

    What are your personal goals for Prairie Food Co-op?
    To get the store open and successful first years!

    What experiences have you had with food co-ops in the past?
    Past PFC Board member.

     


  • published Amy Fahey in PFC Board Candidates 2023 2022-04-07 11:28:16 -0500

    Amy Fahey

    Owner Number 1519

    "I have thoroughly enjoyed my time as a Board member over the last year and look forward to continuing to contribute to Prairie Food Co-op becoming a reality.  It's so close now, we can taste it."

     

    Why are you interested in serving on the Prairie Food Board of Directors?

    I am hardly an expert, but for me, Prairie Foods Co-op brings so many pieces together in one place, a place that supports a whole community’s healthier way of life.  While I've gotten involved in many things over my life, this really aligns with my passion.

    My journey toward understanding healthy land, healthy food, healthy people started many years ago when I met my dear friend Christina Pirello and read my first Wendell Berry book, The Gift of Good Land.  I continued reading everything I could find, but it was working with people like Christina in her efforts to “save the world, one meal at a time” and the DeWalds who are building a sustainable community at Serosun Farms in Hampshire, that taught me about the big and small ways that every person can contribute to ensuring their own health and that of our soil, water, and overall environment.  

    Each day I have found new opportunities, both big and small, to create impact, from the basics of eating organic, composting, and recycling, to understanding where and how our products are produced and the impacts of those processes, to engaging at NIU’s Northern Illinois Center for Community Sustainability regarding food systems innovation, water resources, and environmental change.  

     

    Employment: Please tell us about your past or present employment

    First Women's Bank - Co-Founder and Board Chair (Sept 2017 - Present) - launched the first new bank in IL in 13 years with a focus on growing the small business economy and elevating the role of women within it.

    IC Catholic Prep - President (August 2016 - July 2017) - created a business office and structured the role of President for a co-ed Catholic high school.  Launched the search committee to identify the permanent person.

    Opportunity International - Advisor to the CEO (December 2015 - July 2016) - an organization that is working to create jobs as a way to end global poverty by providing small business loans, savings, insurance and training to more than 14 million people in the developing world.  Assisted the CEO in transitioning the structure and strategy of the organization.

    JPMorgan Chase (and predecessor organizations) (1987-2015) - held numerous leadership roles across risk management, operations, sales, finance and technology including Head of Investor Relations, Chief Financial Officer of Commercial Banking, Head of Midwest Middle Market and Chief Credit Officer Business Banking.

     

    Volunteer: Membership/Affiliation/Leadership Past and Present:

    Prairie Food Co-op - Member of the Board and CIP, Finance, GM Transition Committees (June 2022-Present) - creating a sustainable, member-owned, full-service grocery store in the heart of Lombard.

    Gateway to Learning - Member of the Board and the Finance Committee (March 2022 - Present) - provides educational and job training programs for adults with intellectual changes and developmental disabilities.

    Milaan Foundation - President of the Board (January 2016 - Present) - provides funding for educational and leadership programs for adolescent girls in India to use their voice to change longstanding cultural norms.

    Northern Illinois University - President's Advisory Council (2021-Present) - group of alumni, community leaders and business executives that offer guidance to President Freeman as she directs the strategic direction of the school.

    Dean's Advisory Council - Northern Illinois University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
    Board Member - Immaculate Conception Grade School
    Board Member and member of Finance Committee - Maria High School
    Board Member and Executive Committee - Goodman Theater
    Board Member - All Chicago Making Homelessness History
    Board Member and Chair Compensation Committee - United Way of Metropolitan Chicago

     

    Which of the following areas do you have expertise?

    Management, Finance

     

    What experience, education, and skills do you have that you feel will contribute to your effectiveness as a Prairie Food Director?

    I have an BS in Technology from Northern Illinois University and an MBA in Finance & Accounting from University of Chicago.  While I have never been involved in managing or leading an organization in the food industry, I have significant experience in managing teams and leading both for-profit and non-profit organizations toward a common goal.  I am not a CPA, but have broad financial experience from my various roles at JPMorgan, as well as board and finance committee roles.  

     

    What are your personal goals for Prairie Food Co-op?

    That PFC becomes a mainstay of Lombard, as well as the broader western suburbs, to help educate people on the tremendous benefits of sourcing local and eating healthy as a way to ensure a vibrant community.

     

    What experience (if any) have you had with cooperatives, food or otherwise?

    Other than shopping at co-ops, my experience exists through my last year on the Board.
    It has been an incredible experience, one that I hope to continue. 

    I look forward to each of the next steps, like meeting the people that produce the food we will provide to our clients - it's a unique connection.  I've been fascinated by the health implications of food and the concept of food as medicine.  As residents of Illinois, we need to think more about where the food that we consume comes from, how it's grown, and what the impact of that process has on our environment.  

    Through personal experience, I am a firm believer that good food, in the right combinations, can address many of the growing health issues our country faces.  We as consumers have to be the ones to force a change.  


  • published Gary Reichardt in PFC Board Candidates 2022 2022-04-07 11:27:58 -0500

    PFC Board Candidate - Gary Reichardt

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    "Writer/editor, graphic designer, and enemy of plastic"

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    Owner Number 1434
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    Why are you interested in serving on the Prairie Food Board of Directors? 
    A couple years ago, before I purchased a share, I had determined to reduce the amount of plastic in my life. In looking for ways to do that, I discovered the co-op and figured its success would mean I'd have bulk food available within biking distance of my home, so I bought in. This remains important to me so if I can contribute as a board member, I would be happy to do so.
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    I think it's important for the planet that co-ops like this one take hold, spread, and compete in a serious way with the food retail giants.
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    For myself, I am keenly aware that all I really do as a professional boils down to moving pixels around on a screen. What's missing is any kind of tangible result for my knowledge and effort. Serving on this board and helping to get the building built and the store in business would be the kind of achievement I think I have been missing.
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    Employment: Please tell us about your past or present employment 
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    I am a freelance presentation developer, which combines graphic design with writing and editing. The majority of my clients are businesses in the fields of marketing, consulting (management and supply chain), healthcare and pharmaceuticals. I have piled up almost 20 years worth of experience helping clients to expose problems in ways that generate solutions — and to then present those solutions in ways that lead to action.
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    Volunteer: Membership/Affiliation/Leadership Past and Present:
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    I served on my condominium association for two or three years.
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    Which of the following areas do you have expertise?
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    What experience, education, and skills do you have that you feel will contribute to your effectiveness as a Prairie Food Director?
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    I can write, edit, and proofread text and am familiar with visual communication — pairing images with words to convey a message to a general audience comprising "readers" and "lookers" (who key on graphics first and only like read when the images compel them to). All of this came to my through my education, and during my career I've added project management skills.
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    I would expect to contribute in the areas of marketing and community outreach, and perhaps grant-writing.
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    What are your personal goals for Prairie Food Co-op?
    I want to see the store open and running smoothly, and also in a position to advise and assist similar organizations coming to life in the city.
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    What experience (if any) have you had with cooperatives, food or otherwise?
    I spent the winter unloading trucks and stocking groceries at night in 1999.
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  • published Crystal Echevarria in Our Mission & Board 2022-04-07 11:27:46 -0500

    Crystal Echevarria

    • Hometown: Lombard
    • Owner #: 941
    • Term: Elected in 2024

    "Plant-based chef driven to enhance our community through food via education, accessibility, & awareness."

    Why are you interested in serving on the Prairie Food Board of Directors? 

    I have served on Prairie Food Co-op’s Ownership & Outreach Committee since 2019 and have really enjoyed being involved. My continued and additional involvement feels like a natural fit.

    Employment: Please tell us about your past or present employment

    I currently own Culinary Confidante (est. 2017) a plant-based culinary education business that provides in-home culinary coaching, cooking parties and workshops. I am currently taking time off from this to enjoy my third baby, who we welcomed last August.

    Prior to Culinary Confidante I worked at Northern Illinois Food Bank as the Child Nutrition Programs Manager and then as the Nutrition Center Manager. I have also worked in various roles within the restaurant and hospitality industry for over 20 years.

    Volunteer: Membership/Affiliation/Leadership Past and Present:

    2019- present: PFC Ownership & Outreach Committee 2021: Northwest Community Healthcare- Research Dept assisting with Covid data collection

    Which of the following areas do you have expertise?

    What experience, education, and skills do you have that you feel will contribute to your effectiveness as a Prairie Food Director?

    During my time on the Ownership & Outreach Committee I have proven my ability to effectively organize events, network within the community and work well with the PFC team. Examples of this include the knife skills workshop, a reusable produce bag sewing workshop, the Ask a Chef series on Facebook live and the virtual Eat Well Be Well workshop.

    Additionally, I hold a Bachelors in Nutrition, Dietetics & Hospitality Administration as well as a Personal Chef Certificate from Kendall College.

    What are your personal goals for Prairie Food Co-op?

    I can’t wait for Prairie Food to bring local and sustainable foods to our community. Not only will it be a great place to shop but to meet friends as well. I would love to continue to be involved in bringing workshops to our community through PFC.

    What experience (if any) have you had with cooperatives, food or otherwise?

    In college I frequented the Duck Soup Co-op in DeKalb. I definitely loved the bulk bins. Carob covered almonds and glad corn were my favorites! My two older children have attended the Co-op Preschool in Lombard and my third will go there as well when he’s old enough. I love how involved the parents and the teachers are. It really feels like a community.

  • published Erica Eliason Cutts in Our Mission & Board 2022-04-07 11:27:32 -0500

    Erica Eliason Cutts

    • Hometown: Lombard
    • Owner #: 1613
    • Term: Elected 2022

    "Natural foods industry professional with 25 years of experience in retail & sales. My journey began at a natural food co-op which sprouted my love of local & organic. Hoping to share this with PFC."

    Why are you interested in serving on the Prairie Food Board of Directors?

    I love Natural Food Co-ops! My first job in the natural food industry was stocking vitamins at The Outpost co-op in Milwaukee nearly 25 year ago. Supporting a thriving community market would be a wonderful way to give back to the community and to future generations of healthy eaters.

    Employment: Please tell us about your past or present employment 

    I currently work for Impact NS Sales, a natural food brokerage as a business manager. Prior to that I was a founding member of Fresh Thyme Markets and served as the Senior Category Manager over the Vitamin, Body Care and General Merchandise department.

    Outside of my day to day career and raising my kids I have not had the opportunity to volunteer. Now that my children are older I now have the time to serve my community.

    Which of the following areas do you have expertise?

    What experience, education, and skills do you have that you feel will contribute to your effectiveness as a Prairie Food Director?

    I have held many different positions in my career with a focus on retail from merchandising, procurement, assisting in over 130 new store set ups, day to day operational management, as well as contract and promotional negotiations. I have also worked for UNFI and currently work closely with KeHE and understand distributor agreements and relationships.

    What are your personal goals for Prairie Food Co-op?

    I want Prairie Food Co-op to be the best grocery store for local, organic, regenerative, non-GMO, and natural products in DuPage County! I am excited to see it closer to being funded and for opening day to become a reality.

    What experience (if any) have you had with cooperatives, food or otherwise?

    I had been an employee and member of the Outpost Co-op in Milwaukee from 1997-1999. When living in Honolulu we often shopped at Kokua Market, the sole co-op on Oahu at the time.

  • published Quinn Coulson in Our Mission & Board 2022-04-07 10:02:10 -0500

    Quinn Coulson

    • Hometown: Lombard
    • Owner Number 1197
    • Term: Elected 2022 

    "A marketer, communicator, food-lover and wellness enthusiast with a soft spot for community engagement and bringing locally- and sustainably-made products to her neighbors."

    Why are you interested in serving on the Prairie Food Board of Directors?
    Ever since I got more involved with PFC shortly after becoming an owner, I've felt this intense loyalty and dedication to the food cooperative movement and opening our community-owned grocery store. I've built fast, lasting friendships with some of the most multi-talented, passionate and forward-thinking people I've ever met, and have been able to tap into my skills in new and exciting ways. That being said - I want more! I continue to take on more responsibilities with PFC, and serving on the Board seems like a natural next step in putting my heart and soul (and sweat and tears) into what I am certain is going to change our community for the better. I know I can bring a fresh perspective and new energy to help the rest of the team continue to carry the torch and get us over the finish line - and beyond!

     

    Employment: Please tell us about your past or present employment
    I've spent the last eight years in the Marketing world, with my first two roles being in the B2C and B2B Software-as-a-Service industries, specifically at an independent Internet Service Provider in Chicago (Everywhere Wireless) and then at a publicly-traded web content management and eCommerce provider (Bridgeline Digital).
    At the former, I was in charge of all things marketing as an Associate Director of Marketing. As ADM, I reported directly to the EVP of Real Estate and Strategy. My duties included:

     

    • Website Management
    • Social Media Management
    • Corporate Event Planning
    • Design of Promotional Materials
    • Media Outreach
    • Public Relations
    • Advertorial Decision-Making
    • Fundraising
    • Management of Administrative Staff
    • Sales Support and Contract management
    • Leasing Staff Marketing On-boarding
    • Developing Creative, Tailor-Made Marketing Strategies for 200+ Client Portfolio

     

    When I moved to Bridgeline Digital, I was initially hired to assist with the planning, implementation and evaluation of a new lead generation campaign and brand marketing strategy. After six months, I was promoted to Marketing Coordinator. In October 2018, I was promoted once again to Marketing Manager, reporting directly to the EVP of Product and Marketing and overseeing two employees.
    • Website Management & SEO: Management of company website since rebrand in October of 2017, including overseeing a phased SEO project that utilized several departments outside of marketing. Efforts yielded a 27% increase in new users from organic search, a 36% increase in pages per session, a 51% increase in average session duration and an 11% decrease in bounce rate.
    • Content Creation & Content Marketing: Management of company blog and resource library, which included the creation and management of content calendars, blog post authorship, copy and content editing of contractor-created materials, and overseeing the design and development of resource pages by other departments.
    • Email Marketing: Planned, implemented and managed sales and marketing email campaigns on Autopilot and Hubspot platforms, including the creation of over 200 unique emails and a long-term lead nurturing strategy.
    • Social Media Management: Management of company Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts, yielding a 104% increase in referral traffic from LinkedIn and a 100% increase in referral traffic from Facebook.
    • M&A Strategic Planning and Transitional Execution: Participated in organizational planning summit with executive leadership team to plan and implement the corporate strategy following two acquisitions.

     

    Currently, I am a Director of Marketing for Guaranteed Rate, a retail mortgage lender. My role oversees the content strategy and marketing activity related to the recruitment of VPs of Mortgage Lending (Loan Officers), VPs of Market Growth (Loan Officer Recruiters), operations personnel and IT personnel, as well as content creation for our Agent Advantage platform, across all GR companies and brands.
    • Managed a team of three VPO/NHM specialists as they onboarded new VPs of Mortgage Lending and Market Growth
    • Work with SVPs and VPs of Mortgage Lending and Market Growth to develop custom, hyper-local recruiting campaigns, and developed the first departmental content calendars for recruit- and agent-facing content
    • Work with marketing team leads, SVPs/EVPs and C-suite to plan and implement large-scale, corporate-driven integrated marketing campaigns for recruitment/acquisition/referral partner channels
    • Oversee multi-channel marketing projects from conception to execution, including those utilizing the social media, paid media, PR, print/direct mail and email mediums - Support the EVP of Marketing in the creation of presentation materials that serve as department-wide marketing updates to Sales leadership and the C-suite, as well as host one-to-one calls with recruits to discuss how our Marketing platform supports their business
    • Provide regular enablement training to hiring managers to go over new marketing content and campaigns, as well as cover best practices for communicating the marketing value proposition and platform benefits for potential new hires
    I also briefly served as a part-time interim Director of Communication for Villa Park School District 45 from August of 2021 until January 2022, during which time I assisted with parent and community updates about events at the schools, COVID mitigation and update communications, as well as social media content creation. Additionally, I spent about two years coaching high school girls and women over the age of 50 in the sport of rowing for North Suburban Crew, based in Skokie, Illinois.
    Prior to my marketing career, I held a variety of customer service and retail positions, including those at: a concessions company that served a professional baseball team on Long Island in NY, Whole Foods in Evanston's specialty cheese and wine department, and several UPS Stores throughout Evanston and northern Chicago.

     

    Volunteer: Membership/Affiliation/Leadership Past and Present:
    Shortly after becoming a PFC owner, I started helping with the CIP during Phase One to compile and send communications via email newsletter. That quickly evolved into helping manage the content calendar, and working with three other volunteers to regularly create and post social media content. I also serve on the Ownership & Outreach committee, which has allowed me to attend Farmer's Markets and other events on behalf of PFC, as well as assist with planning proprietary events in order to bolster our community awareness efforts in the hopes of gaining more ownership and support. I recently also hosted a Spring Into Wellness workshop on meditation and mindfulness, and would love to do more in the future!
    At Guaranteed Rate, I am a mentor for the Guaranteed Rate Organization of Women Employee Resource Group, as well as a co-chair for the Leadership, Equality and Development Employee Resource Group's recruiting and outreach committee. I also am currently in a small committee that meets with the District 45 Superintendent to go over issues of safety and creating a more progressive environment in our schools and serve as a Precinct Committeeperson for District 62.

     

    Which of the following areas do you have expertise? 

     

    What experience, education, and skills do you have that you feel will contribute to your effectiveness as a Prairie Food Director?
    With my journalism, communications and marketing background, I feel that I have a lot to bring to the Board as a Prairie Food Director. Journalism school taught me how to be a deadline-follower, as well as how to prioritize efficiently and quickly learn new skills through research and getting my hands dirty. This, I feel, has translated really well into learning about the food co-op world, and managing the various volunteer roles I jumped right into pretty much as soon as I could.

     

    The roles I've held in the last eight years have also helped me hone my project management skills, as I've seen dozens of marketing campaigns from ideation all the way through to execution and implementation. This includes managing expectations for stakeholders, keeping track of multiple timelines in tandem with one another and being responsible for high-visibility deliverables across many audiences and mediums. I manage a team as well as work closely with creatives from other teams in my department, as a large part of my current role requires taking the ideas of executive leadership and bringing them to life in a manner that is efficient and effective. I am the only person in the department to have built out a year-long content calendar that we've followed incredibly closely for the last two years, and am told that we're the most efficient and high-volume team the creatives have worked with.

     

    With this role comes a great deal of experience with brand awareness and employer/recruitment marketing, and I work closely with leadership from all departments within our 11,000-person company to attract new talent. I also gained some similar skills during my time as a coach, as we only had three high school girls on the team when I first joined and by the time I left we had close to thirty. This means that I know how to build teams that retain well and grow in a natural trajectory, as well as put the "best foot forward" to continue organic growth that is sustained and scalable.

     

    My presentation and public speaking skills would also contribute to my effectiveness, as I'm very comfortable with speaking in both small and large group settings, creating and presenting slide decks and representing brands in a manner that is professional and polished. I'm very personable, and know how to be present and hold attention from my experience both in my current role and as a rowing coach and mentor. I'm also skilled at creating and nurturing new relationships, as my experience and education both taught me how to build rapport.
    I feel that all of this will directly and positively impact my effectiveness as a Prairie Food Director, especially in the coming years as we hire a GM and other staff, finalize plans for our store, and get across the finish line to opening our doors.

     

    What are your personal goals for Prairie Food Co-op?
    It is my goal for PFC to be a source of pride and education for our community - for those who own work, and shop there to feel the impact of the food cooperative model and be its biggest advocates. I aim to help PFC grow more popular with millennials and younger couples/families, as well as see it used as a platform for community environmental, sustainability and wellness education for all demographics. This is only the beginning of a HUGE step in the right direction for our community and DuPage County at-large!

     

    What experience (if any) have you had with cooperatives, food or otherwise?
    Only what I've stated above as my current experience with PFC.

  • wants to volunteer 2021-02-23 10:16:18 -0600

    Order a Yard Sign

    Show your Owner pride with a yard sign and pique the curiosity of your neighbors.

    You can be one short conversation away from recruiting another Owner!

    We would like to see a sign in every yard, so we are gladly giving yard signs to every willing Owner. Each sign costs us about $10 to produce, so please consider making a donation on the next screen to help alleviate the cost to the co-op. However, if you can't pitch in right now, that's OK too. The important thing is helping us spread the Prairie Food word. 

    Enter your address below and we will get a sign to your yard usually within a week! 

    Become a volunteer

  • donated 2021-02-23 10:15:26 -0600