Job: Mt. Airy assistant bulk buyer
Since When: She joined the grocery staff in February 2016, and moved to bulk in January 2017.
Where She’s From: Bensalem, PA
Where She Lives Now: Mt. Airy, with her boyfriend, Alex, and their three guinea pigs, Tuna, Barry and Moose.
How She Got to the Co-op: She was working the Harry Potter Festival, doing surveys for a marketing company. A huge Harry Potter fan, she’d never been to Chestnut Hill before. “I was like, I don’t know where I am, but I do know that this is where I need to be.” She sent her resume to various businesses in the area, but “everyone I talked to was like, ‘Oh no, you belong in Mt. Airy.’ ” And as it turned out, the Co-op only had an opening in Mt. Airy.
Other Background: She graduated from Bensalem High in 2011, and got halfway through the elementary education program at Temple before she changed her mind about becoming a teacher. She’s now back at Temple, this time majoring in community development with a focus on sustainable food systems.
On-the-Job Self-Training: “I think you have to have an extensive knowledge of all of the items that we offer. Our shoppers ask a lot of questions, so you have to know where [the item] is coming from and how to prepare it. . . . I found that having some foresight as to how popular trends are panning out has also been very helpful — you know, what’s the new kale?”
What She Likes About the Job: “There’s something new and exciting happening every day. There are new vendors to talk to, there are new products coming out, and I’m learning a heck of a lot. . . . One thing: I’ve learned a lot about coffee.”
Semi-Outside Pursuit: She recently joined the Co-op’s Food Justice Committee. “We’re learning a whole lot — just about how diverse our neighborhood is, and what we can do to bridge the gap between our community at the Co-op and the surrounding neighborhoods that maybe still don’t realize that they can shop here, or that they have this plethora of options available to them.”
Favorite Co-op Products: Weavers Way farm produce (she’s a CSA member), sushi, Prep Foods’ mango curry chicken salad.
A Little Co-op Love: “I just like the community aspect. One thing that sticks in my mind is after the [2016 presidential] election, people came to the Co-op just to be around each other, and I thought that was incredible.”
— Karen Plourde