The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change

By: Jennifer Cassano, Co-op Board Member | 2018-06-18

So then why do we find change so difficult? Shouldn't we be used to it by now? As we grow older and gain more experiences, the more difficult it is to adapt to that which is unfamiliar. We all get it. Change is hard!

But, we must adapt to change. The world is changing whether we like it or not. There's no stopping it.

Think about a tree growing in the city. It is going to have to weave its roots around fence posts and its branches are going to have to grow around power lines. If the tree doesn't adapt, then growth cannot happen.

Our Co-op is growing, too. As it grows, it must adapt. Will every branch on the tree get to see the clear blue sky? No. Some branches will have to bend. Just like the tree, we can adapt to change or we will cease to grow.

Change itself is inevitable – and that's scary. But here's the good news: we always have a say in HOW we adapt to our changing world.

Here at the Co-op, member-owners all have a voice in how the store adjusts to changing times. Each and every member-owner is invited to share concerns or ideas at the monthly board meetings. You are encouraged to write your concerns or ideas down and put them in the "comments" box at the front of the store or you can also email the board of directors at Through all our changes, your concerns are addressed and you are heard. We're in this together – that's what being a Co-op is all about.

As a board member, I sit in meetings every month with the rest of the board, the general manager, staff and guests. We listen to the concerns and ideas from member-owners. We hear the general manager's plans in detail. And with her, we discuss next steps and things we need to consider going forward. We talk about the adaptations that we feel will bring growth and sustainability to the co-op. We discuss them at length. We talk about risks, the fiscal responsibility of each move we make, the impact on our members, the impact on the staff, and the potential it may have to attract new members. As we make these decisions, modifications must be made as well. Not everyone will be happy with the changes. But everything that is discussed and all the decisions that are being made are for the good of the Co-op as a whole.

The mission is to see to it that the Co-op not only survives these changing times, but that it thrives.

Things right now are changing rapidly at the Whole Foods Co-op, and the Co-op is thriving. We have had a steady increase of member-owners month after month. We have partnered with local businesses, selling their goods in the store to attract more customers and offer more to current shoppers. The food truck has brought awareness of the Co-op to areas of the city where it might not have existed previously. The Co-op Cafe at the Erie Art Museum is doing the same, and both are showcasing the fresh, delicious food we have to offer. We've made the community room more accessible to all member-owners and are offering more classes and workshops. And to top it all off, each of these endeavors will be bringing in extra profits for the Co-op.

I know change is difficult. But if we can't move the tree, we can support it, feed it, water it and trim its branches so that it grows tall and sturdy. The changes being made are helping the Co-op grow bigger and stronger so that it can survive turbulent times. Our roots are deep at the Co-op. So, let's support it together.