1235 Apalachee Parkway, Tallahassee FL •  850.942.2557

Board News


With Natasha Hartsfield, Board President

To all New Leaf owners in attendance at the annual meeting on October 6th, thank you for coming and letting your voices be heard. For those who weren’t present, I hope to see you there next year. While owners are welcome to any of our board meetings, which occur on the last Monday of each month at 6:30 PM in the Parkway conference room, the annual meeting offers a setting for owners to gather and gain an understanding of the perspectives of fellow owners.

Our meeting this year was at the American Legion Hall at Lake Ella and began with a thorough report from our General Manager, Steve Kobs. Steve highlighted the challenges of the past year, largely the need to close the Bannerman store, and the ways in which he works diligently to resolve our lease issues, lessen overall store expenses, and pay down our debt. Finance Director Ben Goldberg gave a thorough report that shed light on the current financial situation of New Leaf. Owners began voicing concerns during the reporting section of the meeting. Many owners voiced ideas for bringing down the debt. Ideas included another owner loan drive and donating owner discounts at the register.  

2017 Annual Meeting, photo by Wendy Morgan

The feedback from owners was robust and consistent with the message that owners want our co-op to be what it once was. Owner engagement, education, product selection and, above all, New Leaf Market’s place in the community were the key points addressed by owners. While we know we need shoppers in the store, owners voiced that they want a reason to shop there. What makes New Leaf Market unique from other organic grocers in Tallahassee?  

Apart from voicing concerns during the open forum, owners also left 30 notes indicating what we can do better. It is clear that owners want more locally produced products in the store, classes and activities, as well as presence at community events. Owners not only gave concerns but also offered solutions. It is abundantly clear that the core owners of New Leaf Market want to be involved and want their co-op to represent a place of local uniqueness with a significant role in the Tallahassee community.

These owners want to volunteer, engage other owners, recruit potential owners, give back to the co-op to help alleviate our debt, and mobilize together to take action in making our co-op succeed.

Serving on a cooperative board has a particular set of responsibilities and duties for directors. Because co-ops are owner-based, directors have the unique responsibility to be sensitive to the needs of owners, and balance their conflicting interests. I can say that the annual meeting this year reflected a consistency in interests among those present.  As we move ahead, understand that director decisions are not only based on what is most profitable but also on the needs of the owners.

We are exploring ways in which we might be involved with Farm Tours again, though not in the same capacity we once were. Back when classes were abundant and the Farm Tours were coordinated by New Leaf, the store’s sales were up and debt was low. Community outreach reflects the fiscal health of the store so we know that in order to meet these expectations of owners, we need to think outside of the box in our approach. With Natasha Hartsfield,
Board President

Additionally, we need to recognize that sales are what keep the doors open, the lights on, and the shelves stocked.

The board will meet on November 11th for our annual workshop where we will focus on owner engagement and strategic planning for the coming year. We are in the process of developing a survey for owners, much of which is based on comments received at the meeting, via email, and on comment cards in the store. We know that some owners haven’t spoken up in a while and we need to hear from them.

Thank you all for your dedication to New Leaf Market! I hope to see you in the store.

Cooperatively yours,

Election Update

We are happy to welcome Christina Brown and Dennis Smith to the New Leaf Board of Directors. Both are eager to get started with the work ahead. Christina’s enthusiasm and experience working with nonprofit organizations in areas of public relations make her well suited for our owner linkage committee.  Dennis has a keen familiarity with agriculture combined with many years of professional experience as an educator. He is particularly interested in working with the finance committee.


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