General Manager

Community Food Co-op | Bellingham, Wa

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Posted Date 5/13/2022

Title: General Manager

Reports to: Board of Directors

Salary: $160,000 with generous benefits (see below)

Location: 405 East Holly Street, Bellingham, WA.

Work Environment: This is an in-person position. Some flexibility allowed, but it cannot be performed remotely.

About Us

Community Food Co-op was established in 1970 opening its first storefront in the Fairhaven District of Bellingham, WA. Since that time, the Co-op has thrived and grown into a local community fixture with a strong connection to community we are a part of. The Co-op currently operates 3 locations in the Bellingham area with over 20,000 members. As we have continued to grow and expand our services, we have held true to our Mission and Values. We are a consumer-owned grocery store serving our community with quality products and honest information.

Job Overview

The General Manager (GM) is hired by and reports directly to the cooperative’s board of directors, which is elected by its members/owners. The Community Food Co-op board uses Policy Governance™(PG), which provides a structure for maintaining a productive relationship between operations and governance and provides the board with tools to effectively oversee the general manager. In the PG structure the co-op’s goals are articulated through “Ends Policies” and the GM’s work is guided through “Boundary Policies”.

The General Manager directly supervises 8 positions including 3 store and food management positions and 5 administrative and operations positions. The GM engages with community and staff, builds a common understanding of co-op's role in the community, and engages in community outreach. This role is responsible for the strategic administration and organizational evolution of the cooperative within the policies and direction set by the board of directors. The GM is accountable for the development and success of the individual departments that comprise the cooperative, as well as, for the collective as a whole.

A successful candidate will clearly demonstrate their ability to convert theory into action, interpret board vision/strategy into implementable tactics at the staff level, and bring an innovative outlook to our Co-op.

Governance Responsibilities

The GM is responsible for ensuring that the board is supported in upholding their governance responsibilities. The board does not play a role in daily Co-op operations.

  • Establish and maintain a productive and collaborative relationship fulfilling the Co-op's mission and goals.
  • Engage the board in opportunities for ongoing development and growth.
  • Prepare and present monitoring reports, financials and development reports to the board.
  • Partner with board to develop a strategic plan identifying long and short-term goals to achieve co-op purposes.
  • Keep the board informed of relevant current or emerging issues and trends that lead to innovation and growth.

Community Engagement Responsibilities

The General Manager implements the vision of the board building upon their entrepreneurial skills and knowledge of trends in Co-op and Retail environments.

  • Connect with community stakeholders building trust and mutually beneficial opportunities.
  • Build and manage Partnerships that enhance the work of the Co-op.
  • Participate in regional and national co-op, industry, and member events including NCG events.
  • Share and build-on information to enhance Co-op processes.

Operational Responsibilities

The General Manager will be responsible for managing each of these integral facets of our work. The general overview of the responsibilities will change as the Co-op progresses. Areas of responsibility are as follows:

Financial and Planning

  • Oversee the financial operations of the cooperative.
  • Prepare industry informed annual and multi-year budgets and deliver results within budget.
  • Assess new opportunities and strategic directions on an ongoing basis and conduct negotiations as agreed.


  • Ensure a profitable, growing business that acts as an economic engine to further the Co-op’s community initiatives.
  • With staff, maintain:
    • Knowledge of natural foods retailing and industry trends.
    • Appropriate relations with wholesale distributors, local markets, and other industry sources to meet shopper needs.
    • Internal infrastructure, systems and processes to improve customer and staff experiences.
  • Plan and execute a margin strategy designed to be price competitive and maintain adequate profit for growth and food access for our member-owners.
  • Understand and engage in technological improvements.
  • Ensure compliance with all applicable laws regarding licenses, permits, health regulations, employment, etc.

Human Resources

  • Oversee compliance with the cooperative’s personnel policies.
  • Support Director of HR and Managers in hiring, supervising, and evaluating staff.
  • Provide leadership and communication to employees; cultivate a motivated cooperative and evolutionary culture of trust, teamwork, accountability, self-confidence, growth, and business ownership.
  • Optimize staff organizational structure that promotes fair distribution of work while maintaining maximum service to customers.
  • Ensure a safe, healthy workplace for employees (i.e.- training, professional development).

Marketing and Outreach

  • Ensure that the co-op has an advertising and marketing strategy to increase public awareness of the cooperative’s products and services.
  • Work with team on member communications (ie.- newsletter, social media and an annual report).
  • Implement programming that drives strong relationships with communities and partners furthering co-op values and goals.

Qualifications & Competencies

Required Experience

  • 5 + years experience in either retail, grocery and/or cooperatives (I.e.- as a general manager, store manager, operations manager, or district manager)
  • 3+ years experience of direct staff management successfully operating in a leadership role facilitating and integrating business-wide feedback into strong decision-making
  • Strong business acumen including business growth and diversification.
  • Fiduciary skills with knowledge and understanding of financial management.
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills and comfort as a highly visible public spokesperson.
  • Effective interpersonal and professional relationship skills with a proven ability to exchange information and collaborate with colleagues and peers within and outside the organization.
  • Proven track record:
  • Cultivating high-performing collaborative teams
  • Working with various community groups, constituencies, representatives and key stakeholders

Preferred Experience

  • Strong integration of an equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) approach
  • Ability to implement change management
  • Understanding of systems development and monitoring
  • Knowledge of various operational models to increase Co-op performance

Application and Benefits

Nonprofit Professionals Now is supporting Community Food Co-op with this key hire. A complete application will include a resume and a Letter of Interest. All applications will be reviewed.

Application Deadline: May 31, 2022


This position has been evaluated and the board has determined that the salary for this position is: $160,000. In addition to this salary, the following benefits are available:

  • Medical, dental and vision insurance available for employee and qualifying children
  • Life, Short and Long Term Disability, and Accident Insurance
  • 6% Matching 401(k)
  • Paid sick and vacation time
  • Discounted Wellness memberships for employee and family
  • 20% discount on all purchases and ability to make special orders at wholesale cost

Diversity Statement

Community Food Co-op strives to create an inclusive environment which embraces difference and fosters inclusion. We believe that valuing diversity and inclusiveness enables us to achieve our vision to create unmatched value for our customers, colleagues, business partners, and owners/members.

Our Diversity and Inclusion Policy applies to all Co-op employees and consultants, agents, representatives, contractors, and contract workers when they act on behalf of Community Food Co-op. It is intended to complement local statutory provisions.

Community Food Co-op embraces and supports our employees’ differences in age; ethnicity; gender; gender identity or expression; language differences; nationality or national origin; family or marital status; physical, mental, and development abilities; race; religion or belief; sexual orientation; skin color; social or economic class; education; work and behavioral styles; political affiliation; military service; caste; and other characteristics that make our employees unique.

Work Environment

Fast paced retail grocery environment with high volume customer service. Ability to work in moderate and loud noise environments including, but not limited to: paging, telephones, human voices, music, and machinery. Most work will be performed in an office environment while sitting and standing for long periods of time.

Important Disclaimer

Employees are expected to act in the best interest of the Co-op, even if doing so requires actions or responsibilities not listed in the above job description. The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by those assigned to this job. They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all duties and responsibilities required of this position. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. Other duties may be assigned which are not considered essential and may not be listed here.

Listing Type
Management | Nonprofit
Position Type
Full Time
Employer Type
Direct Employer
$160,000 with generous benefits (see below)

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