Viroqua Food Co+op Blog

A Few of My Favorite Things

Posted by Charlene Elderkin on Fri, Jul 30, 2021 @ 11:30 AM

BlogImage-2021-Charlene ArticleIt has been my privilege to serve as the VFC Marketing Manager for the past fourteen years. As I head towards retirement this autumn, I’d like to reflect on a few of the many things I appreciate about working at the Co-op.

As a mission-driven person, it is important to me that the work I do in the world has a larger purpose than providing me with an income. And what work is more essential than being part of providing food to your neighbors though a community-owned co-op with an emphasis on good local food? 

I love the cooperative business model, and love working at a place where the rock stars are our local farmers and food producers. And not just that we sell their food, but that we have assisted many local farmers and food businesses get their start in the retail world and go on to build an even wider distribution network. Being a link in the chain of connections that brings food to the tables of our community and beyond has been very rewarding.

I love how VFC trains, educates, and facilitates outside trainings to further the expertise of our staff. I love how VFC promotes from within whenever possible, and how an entry-level job can become a career. I’ve watched over the years as a grocery stocker was promoted to Grocery Manager and then became the Operations Manager. I watched as a baker trained to be a cashier and eventually became the Customer Service Manager. There are many more examples.

Change is constant at the Co-op, which means a VFC job will be challenging but always interesting. I learned about radio and TV advertising, social media, capital campaigns. I worked through a U.S. economic financial collapse, years later our major store expansion, and then a global pandemic. We make a plan and we pivot when necessary, and that ultimately teaches us about priorities and brings out our creativity.

I’m very grateful for those who have worked alongside me – Shana, Haley and Bjorn in the Marketing Department (you’re the best!) and all the members of the Management Team – for their professionalism, compassion, commitment and being all-around stellar human beings. 

I want you to know that the people who work at and manage the Co-op work very hard and utilize all the tools and expertise available to make decisions on behalf of VFC. Know that the Viroqua Food Co+op is in good hands, the very best of hands.

-Charlene Elderkin, Marketing & Membership Manager