By Taylor Dibbert
Rachel Hardwick raised her kids in Takoma Park with her husband, loves to walk her dog around town with friends, and owns a commercial testing laboratory with her husband. She is an attorney at AARP.
Hardwick served on TPSS Co-op’s Board of Representatives from December 2013 to November 2019. She was president from December 2014 to November 2018.
This interview has been edited lightly.
Would you tell me a little bit about yourself?
I really like Takoma Park; it’s been a great place for my husband and I to raise our kids. During the pandemic, I learned that I could run a lot of my errands on foot, and now I regularly walk to the Co-op. Though of course I still drive when I buy a lot of things on my discount day.
What year did you join the Co-op? What made you want to become a member?
I’m not sure what year I joined the Co-op. I think it took me a while to join. Now I join co-ops in other towns when I visit them. I’m a regular shopper at Bloomingfoods in Bloomington, Indiana, where my daughter goes to school. I support co-ops through my membership and shopping because I really like healthy food. I like that dollars stay local, and that co-ops provide a place for local producers to sell their goods.
How regularly do you shop there? Are there certain items or brands that you particularly enjoy?
We shop at the Co-op several times a week and do a big, pantry-filling trip once or twice a month. I like the Field Day prices and the bulk section, including the bulk candy. I like that I can bring my containers and use less packaging. The Wellness section is a real benefit to me as I have Lyme disease. I find a lot of quality products there that support my health.
What motivated you to run for the board?
I was eager to serve on a board and to serve my community.
What was being president like?
It was a very challenging time. We worked with the community and City regarding plans for development of the City-owned lot; there was a lot of board turnover; beer and wine was first sold while I was president; our management team left, and the workers unionized.
Luckily we were able to fill the role of General Manager with a fantastic interim GM from New Mexico. She and Hussein [Choteka] helped us bridge the gap until we hired Mike [Houston].
What’s the best part about being a member of the co-op?
I love that co-ops support each other across the U.S. and I love that our dollars stay local. Buy local!
Taylor Dibbert serves on TPSS Co-op’s Board of Representatives.