General Manager

Community Owned Grocery (COG)
Organization location: 
Willmar, MN
Apply by: 
Fri, 05/30/2014

The Community Owned Grocery (COG) is located in Willmar MN, a beautiful rural area in central Minnesota with over 360 lakes, more than 20 miles of paved nature trails and a variety of local artisans, galleries, and antique shops.

 The co-op has been an ongoing effort since 2012.  We currently have 550 member-owners, and we expect to be over 1,000 member-owners by our projected opening in early 2015.  Our store will be a full-service grocery store.  We expect to operate a store of a minimum 3,000 square feet, with between 2-3 full-time department managers and a floor staff of 7-10 full- and part-time employees.

The COG has a mission to build a vibrant economy by promoting personal wellness, cultivating a strong local foods network and celebrating a healthy, diverse and sustainable community. The COG is currently looking for a General Manager to manage the new grocery co-op start-up. We are looking for a general manager with the required skills to help us design the store and its processes/operations in addition to running the day to day operations. The General Manager has the unique opportunity to create and develop the COG’s store from the ground up, making key decisions, helping create the store design, selecting equipment and staffing, and building the community's perception and brand of the store.

The job of the General Manager (GM) is to lead the cooperative so it achieves the goals and objectives developed by the Board of Directors while remaining aligned with the co-op’s mission and vision. The General Manager reports to the Board of Directors, which is elected by the Member-Owners of the cooperative.

In the initial stages of employment, the General Manager position will be focused on the development and building of the cooperative store. As the COG develops, the position focus will shift towards day to day operations and goals. Some of the duties of the position are as follows:

1.     Develop and recommend to the Board of Directors long- and short-range plans to achieve co-op purposes. 

2.     Ensure a profitable, growing business with sound operational procedures and policies. Set measurable objectives for all departments and review quarterly operating results for compliance with those objectives.

3.     Maintain knowledge of natural foods retailing and industry trends. Share that knowledge with team members and the Board, where appropriate.

4.     Create and maintain a work environment at which employees and volunteers are excited and proud to work. Ensure excellent relations with Member-Owners and the community at large, both directly and through team members.

5.     Hire, supervise, and evaluate staff. Mentor/train staff in their role and ensure they have the necessary tools with which to properly motivate their teams to provide superior service.

6.     Prepare the COG’s financial statements and budgets, and prepare the co-op’s financial future including member equity, financing needs and future profitability.

7.     Provide leadership for the COG that provides good business relationships, public relations and positive interaction with the board.


  • A bachelor’s degree in management or a related field is required
  • Retail supermarket management is required, with knowledge of store operations; co-op experience or work with natural or organic foods is a plus
  • Supervisory experience, including the ability to hire the right team members, evaluate their performance on a regular basis, develop their skills, hold them accountable to specific performance standards and motivate them to provide superior service and support to customers as well as each other
  • Project management skills with a demonstrated ability to meet deadlines, coordinate projects and follow through on commitments; must be able to handle multiple, competing demands and pressures
  • Must have Microsoft Office and general computer knowledge
  • Must have exceptional communication skills (written and verbal), customer service skills and the ability to give clear direction and feedback; organizational skills and detail orientation are required

If you are interested in being considered for this position, please send your resume and cover letter (specifically outlining your interest in and qualifications for this role) to: Willmar COG Hiring Committee | PO Box 979 | Willmar, MN 56201 | or electronically to: [email protected] by May 30.

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