Learning a New Language

Learning a New Language

by: David Lester, General Manager

CCMI, NCGA, CAP, CGIN, CoCoFiSt, CCMA, UNFI, OCC…what does it all mean?  Well, I’m quickly learning the language of how cooperative grocers talk to each other, which is often in acronyms.  It has been two weeks since I walked in the front door of our Co-op, grabbed a cup of coffee and jumped right into the GM duties.  I feel very lucky to work with such a fun and knowledgeable staff.  We’re off to a great start.  The week preceding Easter was our best week of sales ever at OCC (Oneota Community Co-op) and as the weather gets warmer, the store seems to be getting even busier.

During my first week on the job we had a full-store inventory, an annual meeting and the Easter holiday.  At the annual meeting, I briefly talked about some exciting projects and new additions that members and customers will be seeing soon.  Here’s a list of just a few of those projects in and around OCC:

• EM:DE! (Extreme Makeover: Deli Edition!)  We are re-branding our deli the Water Street Café.  It will take on a new look – including a new logo, as well as a slight layout change in order to move customers more efficiently and make ordering easier. Stop in and try one of our 100% organic espresso drinks.

• I’ve joined the Downtown Decorah Betterment Association and I’m excited about the progress of the Norm Smith Plaza project which will provide a small “park-like” setting with bench seating, trees, flowers and a small, covered structure for performances and other events – just steps away from the front doors of the Co-op.

• At the end of April I’ll be attending the 2010 Kellogg Food & Community Gathering with some other leaders from our community.  My goal is to find out how OCC can play a role in promoting healthier food choices in our school systems and expand our contribution to a healthier lifestyle in NE Iowa.

Another idea that I’ve had in my head is to have a “Get Happy Hour” promotion in the store during a regular time when customers and families can come in, sample some food and beverages, play games, and participate in conversations about our Co-op and this amazing community we live in.  More details are soon to follow, but I should warn you that I play a pretty mean Scrabble game and can be very competitive!

You will see me in the aisles and having lunch in the deli as often as I can.  Feel free to stop by and say “hello.”  Whatever language you speak, I look forward to our conversation and the future of our OCC.