Chief Executive Officer

On behalf of our client, The Wedge Natural Foods Co-op, KeyStone Search is conducting a retained search for a Chief Executive Officer www.keystonesearch.com

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ORGANIZATION BACKGROUND The Wedge Community Co-op was founded in 1974 as a natural foods grocery store in south Minneapolis. The co-op name comes from the popular nickname for the Lowry Hill East neighborhood, called "The Wedge" due to its shape. It was a community effort from the start, and the founders were stunned at how quickly the store became successful. Like other co-ops, The Wedge Community Co-op is a business owned and operated by its members that operates for their benefit. Cooperation is a key element in the co-operative model.

The values of cooperatives are: self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity, and solidarity. In the tradition of their founders, cooperative members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others. The cooperative principles by which cooperatives put their values into practice are: 1. Voluntary and Open Membership: Cooperatives are voluntary organizations, open to all persons. 2. Democratic Member Control: Cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members. 3. Member Economic Participation: Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital of their cooperative. 4. Autonomy and Independence: Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. 5. Education, Training and Information: Cooperatives provide education and training for their members, elected representatives, managers, and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives. 6. Cooperation among Co-operatives: Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional, and international structures. 7. Concern for Community: While focusing on members' needs, cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members. Natural food co-ops are a particular co-op success story. In the 1970s people wanted organic and unprocessed basic foods that were not readily available in grocery stores. They organized co-ops to get these products and built connections with producers and vendors.

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While some successful co-ops have expanded into additional retail outlets, The Wedge has taken a vertically consolidated route in its growth. Today, the organization is comprised of three divisions: the retail store on South Lyndale Avenue in Minneapolis, the Co-op Partners Warehouse (CPW) food distribution company in the Cretin Vandalia neighborhood of St. Paul, and the Gardens of Eagan farm and greenhouse located near Northfield, Minnesota. The Wedge Retail Store The Wedge is one of the largest and most successful single store retail food co-ops in the United States, with 11,000 square feet of retail space producing sales in excess of $33 million to 15,000 members and many non-members each year. There are about 210 employees. The Wedge is a full line natural grocery store that includes a bakery and from scratch deli with juice/coffee bar. The entire operation is certified organic. The produce department was the first certified department in the state of Minnesota. The meat and seafood and the juice/coffee bar were the first such departments in the nation to be certified organic. The produce department routinely wins accolades and awards from a variety of publications. Co-op Partners Warehouse The wholesale distribution department, Co-op Partners Warehouse, grew out of necessity as the Wedge retail store required a consistent and reliable distributor to meet the needs for access to organic produce. CPW is now a major distributor of perishable products to co-ops in six states, and works closely with local and regional producers to help get their products to market. CPW is Certified Organic by Midwestern Organic Services Association Inc. and specializes in products from local producers. On any given day, CPW will have between 200-250 organic produce items in stock, as well as their own line of signature products such as frozen cookie dough, deli salads and chili. CPW maintains a 45,000 square foot warehouse, employs about 40 individuals and has approximately $20 million in annual sales. In April 2012, the workforce of CPW voted to unionize and labor negotiations are currently in progress.

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Gardens of Eagan In 2007 the co-op bought the Gardens of Eagan (GOE), which had been one of the oldest local certified organic farms serving the Twin Cities area. It began operating the 60+ acre farm in 2008. Well-known as a pillar of excellence in the organic farming community, GOE provides the Wedge, other co-ops, restaurants and farmers’ markets that feature local and organic food, with delicious and healthful produce including broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumbers, kale, peppers, sweet corn, strawberries, tomatoes and watermelon. In 2012 the co-op bought land and a greenhouse operation in Northfield in order to improve and expand the business and will move Gardens of Eagan there for the 2013 growing season. In addition to the farm operation, the not-for-profit Organic Field School was also started as a separate program to offer education and other services to the organic farming community. Linda Halley, the 2003 Organic Farmer of the Year, with farming roots in Wisconsin, agreed to return from the west coast as GOE’s Farm Manager. She gathered together a talented team of young farmers and began to “plant some seeds.” Now, four seasons later, new “crops” are growing at GOE. They are: Farmers Market-GOE produce stands can now be found at two farmer’s markets. Direct marketing offers the opportunity to introduce new items to the Twin Cities. GOE is one of only a few growers of certified organic plants for gardeners. Farm Incubator-Continuing the tradition of helping young farmers, GOE, in cooperation with The Organic Field School, is incubating a new farm business, Fazenda Boa Terra CSA. Educational Non-Profit-GOE is home to The Organic Field School (OFS), a non-profit dedicated to teaching about organic food and farming. As part of OFS programming, in 2011 GOE staff taught growers how to construct temporary high tunnels and shared business planning for beginning farmers. In 2012, OFS and GOE have teamed up to offer new farmers workshops on financial management and marketing. Further, the Midwest Food Connection (MFC), offers natural foods education to local schools. Production Innovations- A tour around the farm today will reveal new innovations shoulder to shoulder with the tried and true methods that have made GOE a success story. MISSION The Wedge co-op’s mission as a natural foods co-op is to provide a diverse selection of highest quality, fairly-priced products and a deepening understanding of their importance to our members, employees and community.

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To achieve this, the organization will:  Earn the loyalty of our member-owners through an ongoing commitment to service  Forge a deepening bond between sustainable local producers and the co-op community  Build upon Cooperative Principles and Values.

POSITION OVERVIEW Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Chief Executive Officer will lead all management activities and operations of The Wedge Community Co-op. Functional areas include retail/wholesale, merchandising, marketing, supply chain, product strategy and development, publishing, human resources and finance. The CEO will use a respectful, constructive and collaborative style to help drive the organization to continue to achieve operational efficiencies, revenue and profitability goals. The nine positions reporting to the CEO are: Store Manager, Co-op Partners Warehouse Manager, Gardens of Eagan Manager, Financial Manager, Grocery Manager, Human Resources Manager, IT Manager, Membership and Marketing Manager, and Special Projects Manager. KEY ACCOUNTABILITIES
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Provide day-to-day leadership and management reflecting the vision, mission, and core values of the organization. Provide key strategic management and leadership to help the organization to achieve operational results, cash flow and other operational, staff and membership goals and objectives. Establish credibility throughout the organization as an effective developer of people, a passionate advocate for members and an effective community and co-op spokesperson. Coordinate, with the Board of Directors, the development and implementation of longrange strategic plans and annual plans designed to achieve the objectives of the organization. Translate those plans into actionable goals, plans and performance measurements for the organization. Investigate new business opportunities and make recommendations to the Board of Directors about expansion, acquisition, and partnership possibilities. Oversee the operational aspects of the organization. Develop and implement plans to enhance the performance of the organization related to the operational infrastructure of systems, processes, and facilities. Measure and manage effectiveness of all processes. Understand key metrics and provide executive reports on the operating condition of the company. Ensure accurate, detailed financial reports and analysis. Remain aware of key financial measures of the organization and take actions, as needed, to remain consistent with the organization’s budget. Oversee the marketing of the organization, including consideration of brand/image, promotions, merchandising, public events and communication. Motivate and lead a high-performance team of experienced, tenured individuals. Foster a positive, caring, accountable, team-oriented environment. Attract, recruit and retain new members of the team. Provide mentoring as a cornerstone to the developmental philosophy of the organization.

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Positively represent the organization with key customers, vendors, co-op organizations, partners and other important constituencies. Act as a public spokesperson on behalf of The Wedge. Present information and recommendations to the co-op’s Board of Directors. Interact with the board of directors in order to provide them the information they need to provide assistance and oversight.

QUALIFICATIONS The successful candidate for this key executive position should have grocery, distribution or related retail leadership background including P & L responsibility and supervisory experience. He or she will have familiarity with and commitment to organic and natural foods. The ideal candidate is an experienced and visionary professional with a passion for the importance of providing access to nutritious, organic and natural food. The successful candidate will be a person of integrity and stature in their community with proven leadership experience, an entrepreneurial spirit, exemplary business and/or nonprofit management skills, and a strong commitment to raising the visibility and impact of The Wedge Community Co-op. Community relations and partnerships, and board development are all key components of this exciting role. A bachelor’s degree is required and a master’s degree is a plus. Ten or more years of progressively responsible experience in grocery or related retail and/or distribution operations is desired. Significant experience in broad external relations is desirable. Other essential skills and experience include:       A proven track record of success leading, building and growing an organization through a collaborative leadership style. The willingness, presence and capacity to be the Wedge’s face to the public, which includes being an effective communicator, a gracious influencer, and a good listener. Demonstrated financial management and budgeting abilities. Outstanding leadership, planning, organizational, and management skills. Ability to establish and maintain excellent, productive relationships with the Board of Directors, staff at all levels, community-based partners and public representatives. Ability to build relationships and work effectively with people from diverse cultures and backgrounds.

The CEO will have experience leading in a complex environment and will have a background of managing an organization by thinking strategically, yet keeping a keen eye on operations, employee satisfaction and customer relations. This individual must have a track record of building strong mutually beneficial relationships and “achieving results through empowering people.” He or she will be an excellent listener who values loyalty, passion, hard work, innovation, cooperation and team spirit.

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COMPENSATION The compensation package for this position is competitive and attractive. It includes a base salary, management bonus and participation in a comprehensive benefits plan.


Marcia Ballinger, PhD Principal 612-375-8895 marciab@keystonesearch.com

Lars Leafblad, MBA Principal 612-375-8989 larsl@keystonesearch.com

“Because Culture Matters”
KeyStone Search is a prominent Minnesota-based executive search firm with a special emphasis on corporate culture fit. KeyStone Search has specialized expertise in the recruitment of C-Suite leaders in general management, sales/marketing, financial, technical/operations, human resources as well as non-profit executives.

KeyStone Search
105 Fifth Avenue South Crown Roller Mill, Suite 512 Minneapolis, MN 55401 612-375-8900 www.keystonesearch.com

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