Director of Cooperative Services

Willy Street Co-op
Organization location: 
Madison and Middleton, Wisconsin
Apply by: 
Fri, 04/05/2013

The Willy Street Co-op, designated "Best Place to Work" in 2012 by Madison Magazine, is a natural foods cooperative with locations in both Madison and Middleton. We are looking for a Director of Co-op Services. This person is responsible for providing strategic leadership for the Co-op by working with the General Management Team to establish and implement long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies relating to owner education and outreach. A thorough understanding of the cooperative movement and principles, knowledge of issues surrounding whole, natural, and organic foods and practices and at least 2 years of experience working with cooperative organizations and member services programs is desired; along with excellent customer service and effective communication skills.We offer an exceptional benefits package including health and dental insurance with no deductible, paid vacation and sick time, 401(k) retirement plan, profit sharing, 20% employee discount and more.

Please apply online and include a resume and cover letter no later than April 3rd to be considered. EOE.

The pay range broken down hourly starts at $20.46/hour or ~$42,556 yearly salary.


Job Title: Director of Cooperative Services

Reports to: General Manager

Direct Reports:

• Co-op Services Assistant

 • Owner Records Administrator


Responsible for providing strategic leadership for the Co-op by working with the General Management Team to establish and implement long-range goals, strategies, plans and policies relating to owner education and outreach.


Essential Functions

1. Strategic Planning

  • Develop and direct implementation of education policies, programs and systems to support strategic direction and the Cooperative Services plan.
  • Ensure owner outreach and education are coordinated, support the Co-op’s objectives and meet organizational expenditure requirements in conjunction with the General Manager
  • Track food politics and legislative matters that pertain to organics, sustainable agriculture and co-ops, and register our support/opposition of them based on our mission and report to owners.
  • Maintain membership in organizations to promote and protect food politics, sustainable agriculture, cooperative business model, and organic issues

2. Customer service

Customer service is WSGC’s primary focus in providing food, goods, and services to its customers. It is the goal of the staff that all customers are treated in a respectful and courteous manner, paying close attention to their individual needs. This personal care and attention should be directed to all customers to ensure that their experience with WSGC is as comfortable and satisfying as possible. The Cooperative Services Manager is not only responsible for providing excellent customer service herself, but also for training and assisting her staff in their customer service skills.

  • Ensure department employees treat customers in a friendly and helpful manner.
  • Ensure department employees assist customers fully and answer their questions, needs, and requests.
  • Resolve customer complaints in a fair and tactful manner.
  • Encourage and answer all customer suggestions, requests and complaints pertaining to cooperative services
  • Be a resource to staff and customers seeking information on cooperative issues

3. Owner Orientation, Education, and Outreach

  • Schedule and ensure staffing for store tours for owners, school groups, and other guests.
  • Work with the Director of Communications to prepare and update ownership literature.
  • Screen and approve proposals for product related trainings and events and ensure coordination of the Community Room schedules
  • Create, schedule and ensure staffing for owner education classes/workshops.
  • Maintain the WSGC libraries, and recommend purchases to improve and increase reference materials.
  • Write monthly owner education and outreach material for The Reader.
  • Create educational presentations pertaining to the Co-op, agriculture or food, for community organizations and other businesses.
  • Ensure all customer comments are answered and posted in a timely fashion.
  • Work with Director of Communications to plan and carry out special events.

4. Community Reinvestment Program and Donations

  • Administer the Community Reinvestment Fund
  • Work with the General Manager and Director of Finance to create and adhere to the donation budget.
  • Administer donation budgets for each store

5. Training

  • Schedule and facilitate natural foods overview classes and all other natural foods departmental classes with corresponding department appointees for all staff according to the training calendar.
  • Schedule and coordinate product related staff trainings according to the training calendar
  • Oversee community room scheduling
  • Seek out qualified instructors for Co-op Sponsored Classes in the Community Room (ie. Cooking, wellness, cooperative-related)
  • Prepare, update, and distribute written materials to support classes, projects and workshops in the Community Room.
  • Create and distribute signage/announcements associated with trainings and classes.

6. Personnel

  • Hire, train, schedule, evaluate and discipline all department staff
  • Provide strategy and direction to direct reports
  • Work with and schedule department staff to ensure that all responsibilities are met. Fill in gaps as needed by acting as sub when no receiving coverage can be found
  • Direct daily operations of department, analyzing workflow, establishing priorities, developing standards and setting deadlines.
  • Set performance standards for direct reports
  • Meet with direct reports individually as needed on improvements in operational matters.
  • Ensure regular meetings with all direct report teams
  • Provide coaching and counseling to department staff

7. Miscellaneous

  • Present Cooperative Services budget requests to the General Manager for budget planning purposes.
  • Oversee owner voting processes
  • Participate in community events to promote Co-op membership and education.
  • Prepare and facilitate regular owner-Board linkage events
  • Assist marketing and merchandising with outreach, community events, and sampling.
  • Effectively communicate with staff about membership questions.
  • Participate in co-worker evaluations.
  • Promote linkage to membership by working at various times at the customer service desk.
  • Stay up to date and report on industry action regarding food policies and politics.
  • Maintain affiliations and memberships in industry related organizations.


  • Thorough understanding of the cooperative movement and principles.
  • Knowledge of issues surrounding whole, natural, and organic foods and practices.
  • Experience with the use of computers for word processing and data entry.
  • At least 2 years of experience working with cooperative organizations and member services programs.
  • Ability to think ahead and plan over a 1-2 year time span.
  • Ability to develop and manage a budget
  • Ability to cover all positions in the cooperative services department
  • Ability to manage multiple demands and meet deadlines
  • Ability to work independently and motivate self and others
  • Demonstrated ability to lead people and get results through others.
  • Excellent sense of organization and follow through on commitments.
  • Excellent writing skills.
  • Ability to develop and maintain favorable relations with staff and owners.
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Skill and comfort in public speaking.
  • Ability to handle stressful situations in a calm, effective manner.
  • Excellent and consistent customer service skills.
  • Commitment to cooperative values