Brattleboro Food Co-op manager leaves after 15 months on the job

Bradford says he wants to pursue an undisclosed ‘unforeseen’ opportunity; board chair praises his work

BRATTLEBORO — Brattleboro Food Co-op General Manager Lee Bradford is leaving after 15 months.

Bradford came here to the job from Fresno, California with 26 years of business management expertise in a variety of industries. He previously served as general manager for FreshKO Produce Services, Inc., a $100 million produce sales and distribution company with more than 150 employees.

   Co-op Board President Jerlyn Wilson addressed Bradford’s leaving, which was not explained in any press release, other than his saying it was not any issue for him with this job.

"He left because he was asked to consider a job [from an employer] that he worked for in the past," she said, describing a special connection that has remained meaningful to his career.

"He probably found it harder than he probably anticipated [to leave]," said Wilson on Tuesday.

She said that Bradford leaves a strong operation.

"He really built a very strong team, empowered and coached people, and gave agency to them," she said.

"He really shifted the culture, and we really want to make the Co-op one of the sought-after places to work. And we're well on our way to that," Wilson added.

In his message, Bradford wrote that he leaves with "mixed emotions," calling his opportunity to work at the Co-op "an honor and a privilege."

"I have had the pleasure of working with an exceptional team, dedicated board members, and passionate shareholders who are committed to the values and mission of our cooperative," he wrote.

He says the Co-op, with all their help, has "re-engaged our community in a number of key ways."

"It has been an incredible journey, and I am grateful for the opportunity to have been part of our Co-op's story," Bradford wrote. "I am certain that the Brattleboro Food Co-op will continue to inspire and advance the health and well-being of all people by nurturing a sustainable, resilient, and just food system for many years to come."

This News item by Virginia Ray was written for The Commons.

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