by Pam Chandler – General Manager

About three years ago, my job dramatically changed when I was given the green light to start participating in community activities, to start teaching and coordinating public
classes at the Co-op. This opened a door to understanding the importance of community and networking.

I began to take part in community activities, forge new friendships and depend on local experts to help develop our co-op class curriculum. This enriched my professional life beyond my expectations.  Each day out in the public was like a day of discovery, the lessons of which I was able to apply to every aspect of my life.  Now as the general   manager at the Sierra Vista Food Coop, I can honestly say that my findings have grown exponentially.

These past few months have been an adventure that have helped me to finally
understand the beauty of networking and what “local” really means. Whether it was small business events, Chamber of Commerce events (Hispanic Chamber as well), or business classes offered by the Small Business Development Center, I began to see the real camaraderie, friendships and support that our local small businesses have been giving each other. I have also seen how people with small businesses are resilient and have brainstormed to find ways to help each other survive in spite of enormous corporate pressure. It was then that I realized that the small business community is part of what makes up each town’s “culture”. They are made up of people trying to create a living in a town they love by sharing their dream.

The Sierra Vista Food Co-op is part of this tapestry of small businesses that make up the “culture” of our region. The importance of this local culture is paramount to our town because it stimulates jobs, diversity and uniqueness. Our Co-op logo says “Buy Local, Be Local” and I am thankful to be part of the small businesses that makes Sierra Vista uniquely us.

Let’s all support local… it’s more important than we think.