TPSS Enters 2022 In A Strong Position, Ready For Growth

Bob Gibson, TPSS Board President 

Dec 9, 2021

As I begin my term as the new President of the TPSS Board of Representatives I start by extending a heartfelt thanks to our outgoing President Diane Curran. For the past three years, Diane has provided steady and thoughtful leadership. My gratitude is amplified by the fact that Diane is not only staying on the Board but will serve as our Vice President. Her wisdom and depth of knowledge about the Co-op are invaluable assets.

Our responsibility as Board members is to set policies that provide direction and expectations for our general manager, and in doing so ensure the financial stability of the Co-op. In the new year our Board will take a fresh look at the mission that informs our policies and makes our business unique in the world of grocery stores. We will work closely with our general manager and staff, and ask for input from our members, as we consider what’s next for TPSS. 

What will it take to achieve our vision, to meet the goals we might have for our cooperative?  Sustainability is a core value for TPSS, so what are the best ways that our small business can make an impact?  We value equity and inclusion, so how can we continue to serve as a meaningful resource within our community.  We are a supporter of and an outlet for local food production – are our members and shoppers aware of this and can our impact be even greater? How will we succeed in a competitive grocery business where the margins are thin and consumer demands and expectations continue to change?

Over our 40 years of being in business, more than 10,000 individuals have made an investment in the store, providing more than $1 million in equity through memberships. More than 6,000 of those member-owners remain active shoppers today, and new members join the Co-op every month. We may be one small store in an industry dominated by corporate chains, but there are unique strengths in the cooperative business model, and in the national cooperative food network, that we will continue to leverage.

We have a great location at Takoma Junction and we intend to continue serving the community from this store for years to come. Our financial position is very healthy. Thanks to the marvelous job done by our general manager Mike Houston and his staff, our sales per square foot just before the pandemic upended our lives was among the best in the grocery industry.  Mike and the staff have been our greatest assets in weathering the disruptions brought about by Covid, and sales are now on a steady, strong rebound. 

In future columns I’ll explore in greater depth some of the topics I’ve touched upon here. I welcome your ideas and suggestions, and on behalf of my fellow TPSS Board members, thank you for your patronage and support of our cooperative business. 

Bob Gibson