Co-op Questions with former Board President Rachel Hardwick

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.