JOB FILLED - General Manager

Job Description: 

Community Food Co-op (Co-op) in Bellingham, WA is seeking candidates for our next General Manager (GM). The Co-op is a $40+ million, member-owned, natural foods and wellness retailer committed to a triple bottom line. The organization employs approximately 250 employees between two store locations, an administrative office, and a production kitchen and bakery.

Bellingham is located on the Salish Sea and is an easy drive to Mt. Baker. It is a vibrant city known for outdoor recreation, breweries, Western Washington University, the Alaska Ferry, and its proximity to the Canadian border.

The position is open until filled. To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.

Position Overview:

We are seeking a dynamic and experienced General Manager (GM) to lead our cooperatively owned grocery store. The GM will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of our operations, including financial management, business planning, staff leadership, and member engagement. This position requires strong leadership skills, strategic thinking, a passion for cooperative principles, a commitment to fostering a positive and inclusive workplace culture, and familiarity with Policy Governance™ principles.

The GM reports to the Board of Directors who are democratically elected by the Co-op membership. The Board of Directors uses Policy Governance to provide direction to the GM and empower the GM to make decisions for the business and lead with confidence.

Performance Standards:

The GM’s performance will be evaluated through systematic monitoring of expectations established in policies on asset protection, financial conditions, business planning and financial budgeting, staff treatment and compensation, treatment of consumers, membership equity and benefits, communication and support to the board, board logistical support, and emergency management succession.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

The GM has full responsibility for all aspects of running a successful, cooperatively owned, natural foods grocery store. This includes:

Strategic and Business Planning:

  • Develop and implement annual business plans that advance the Co-op’s long-term strategic plan and align with the Policy Governance framework.
  • Identify growth opportunities and innovative initiatives to enhance the store’s profitability and community impact, and advance the Co-op’s mission, vision, and values.
  • Collaborate periodically with the Board of Directors in long-range Strategic Planning to assess member needs and market conditions and to set long-term goals and strategic objectives.

Financial Planning and Management:

  • Manage the store’s budget and financial performance, ensuring profitability and sustainability.
  • Prepare annual and multi-year budgets, deliver results, assess new opportunities, oversee financial reporting, analysis, and forecasting to inform decision-making.
  • Implement cost-effective strategies and revenue-generating initiatives.

Operations Management:

  • Oversee day-to-day operations, including inventory management, purchasing, and merchandising.
  • Ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, safety standards, and cooperative policies.
  • Implement efficient systems and processes to optimize operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Staff Leadership and Development:

  • Provide visionary leadership and direction to the store’s management team and staff.
  • Foster a positive and inclusive work environment that values diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Support staff development and training initiatives to enhance skills and job satisfaction.

Member and Community Engagement:

  • Connect with stakeholders, and cultivate and manage community partnerships.
  • Promote cooperative principles and values through community outreach and engagement activities.
  • Solicit feedback from members and stakeholders to ensure responsiveness to community needs.
  • Ensure an effective marketing and outreach strategy.

Union Relations:

  • Work collaboratively with union representatives to uphold labor agreements and ensure fair treatment of employees.
  • Address labor-related issues and grievances in a timely and constructive manner.
  • Foster a positive and productive relationship between management and unionized staff.

Reporting to the Board Using Policy Governance:

  • Maintain a productive and collaborative relationship with the Board of Directors. Report on relevant and emerging issues.
  • Provide regular reports to the Board in accordance with Policy Governance principles, including updates on organizational performance, strategic initiatives, and compliance with governance policies.
  • Collaborate with the Board to establish clear expectations for reporting and communication, ensuring transparency and accountability in governance processes.
  • Ensure that all reports and communications to the Board adhere to the principles of Policy Governance, including clarity, relevance, and alignment with organizational values and objectives.


  • The GM directly supervises the Finance Director, HR Director, Marketing & Outreach Manager, Store Operations Directors, Prepared Foods Director, IS Retail Director, Facilities Manager, and Admin/Sustainability Manager.

Qualifications and Competencies
Required Experience/ Track Record of Success:

  • 5+ years experience in a retail or similar environment, in a leadership role.
  • At least 5 years of direct management experience managing different levels of employees.
  • Demonstrated financial acumen including budgeting, financial analysis, and business planning and execution.
  • Engagement in strategic thinking and planning.
  • Strong leadership, verbal, and written communication skills with the ability to inspire and motivate teams.
  • Experience in cultivating high-performing collaborative teams.
  • Supports and upholds accountability and transparency.

Highly Desired:

  • Experience working in grocery and/ or cooperative settings.
  • Experience working with a board of directors.
  • Problem-solving skills: ability to diagnose problems and find solutions.
  • Ability to develop and promote talent in a collaborative work environment.
  • Experience leading organizations through change.
  • Ability to develop and monitor systems.
  • Strong facilitation and presentation skills.
  • Embraces and models a service mindset.
  • Strong operational integration of equity, inclusion, diversity, and accessibility.
  • Experience with and support for the cooperative business model and values.
  • Knowledge of labor laws and union relations.
  • Passion for sustainable agriculture, local food systems, and community engagement.

More Information about the position:

Reports to: Board of Directors
Location: 405 East Holly Street, Bellingham, WA

Compensation and Benefits:

  • The GM role is a contractual position with an initial term and renewal terms thereafter, as mutually agreed upon.  Salary range is $165-180K depending on experience.
  • Benefits include medical, dental, & vision for employee and children, matching 401(k), up to 25% discount on purchases, Paid Time Off, EAP, and Supplemental Insurance options.

For more information about Bellingham, WA:


$165-$180K DOE
Confidential Job: 
Last Resume Date: 
Friday, May 10, 2024 - 3:00pm
Contact First Name: 
Annabelle Wesley Board Administrator