Wisnerson Benoit

Why are you interested in running for this board?
I am interested in running for the board because  I believe that the Community Co-op is well positioned to serve an important  role in the  local food ecosystem as well as promote sound social business practices in the Tallahassee community, and therefore I would like to help meet the organization's mission. When looking at the strategic priorities of the organization I get excited. "Local products making up at least 10% of the sales", "Improve the diversity of the co-op staff, leadership and members", and "growing sales and earnings" are just some of what gets my brain going.

 

Briefly summarize what professional, leadership, and/or volunteer experience uniquely qualifies you to serve on the  board. Some of my most relevant experience include:

  1. My background as an urban planner has honed my technical and interpersonal skills in conducting quantitative and qualitative research, work in collaborative  settings, and develop a considerable working  knowledge of processes, programs, and organizations  at work  in the City of Tallahassee.
  2. Experience as Board Secretary of the Frenchtown Neighborhood Improvement Association. I worked with the FNIA board while it was organizing internal and external resource to plan, build, and operate it's shared commercial kitchen. During this time I gained a better understanding of the local food ecosystem and much of it's operants.

 

In your opinion, what is the  role of the co-op in the community?  
In my opinion the role of the co-op in the community is generally to democratize the means of production and facilitate equitable distribution of the shared wealth that we create as a community. It is to furthermore bolster and support other cooperative models and social enterprises that operate in its environment and further enable sustainable and resilient economic systems to continue to grow and generate communal wealth in the form of material and immaterial quality-of-life enhancing outcomes.

 

What is your vision for  Community Co-op Market's future?
My vision of the Community Co-op Market is to meet and surpass all of it's economic and social targets. Then, when the CCM is ready to expand to additional places in Tallahassee that the market select business opportunities that can dramatically address food gaps in the community by locating in food deserts/swamps while utilizing a economic model that allow employees and members to have equal ownership with the CCM as feasible. I see the CCM buying out failing corner-stores and replacing them with smaller footprint versions of the CCM with a fewer number of SKUs that deliver incredible  value and amazing value-added products, many of which are sourced locally. The Frenchtown, Bond, or Providence neighborhoods could be ideal places for this.

 

The co-op is currently facing many new challenges due to the pandemic and an ever-increasingly competitive grocery industry. What opportunities do you see for innovation and growth for the co-op to overcome these and other challenges?

  1. Make it easy for people to go zero waste: The bulk section of the CCM is good, but it could be great. Unlike the Improved produce section, hot food area, and other food sections received a face-lift but it appears the bulk section has not. Make the bulk section competitive with Greenwise's then advertise the ability to shop zero waste.

  2. Flyers: The CCM Flyer is a bit like Winn-Dixie's, we should make it more like Trader Joes, for marketing by mail. It can include descriptions that MAKE people visit the store. Or better yet, make it like it use to be where there were puzzles and fun things for kids, give kids a chance to be published in it with art and poetry, etc. More evocative and personal.