The Concord Food Co-op is a natural foods grocery store, bakery, and café located in Concord and New London, New Hampshire. What began as a humble buying club more than 37 years ago has grown into one of the most successful natural food co-ops in the State. With a true community focus, the Co-op stocks its shelves with delicious foods from hundreds of local and regional farms and producers and offers free and low-cost wellness programs and food events that attract thousands of attendees annually. Approximately 70 cents on every dollar spent at the Co-op is reinvested into the local economy. The Co-op’s cafe and bakery skillfully create award-winning dishes and desserts available in-store, by special order, and for catered events. Everyone is welcome at the Co-op! You do not need to be a member to shop or take part in Co-op programs.
The Concord Food Co-op evolved out of a community buying club established in the late 1970s. In 1982, the club incorporated and became an independent entity. The Co-op occupied many spaces throughout its infancy, and in 1993 it moved to its current location on South Main Street. In November of 2005, the store expanded, tripling its size and doubling the number of products offered. The expansion allowed for growth in every department and provided the space needed to introduce new services such as the Co-op Café, the Co-op’s in store Bakery, and Grab n’ Go deli.
Early in 2009, the Concord Food Co-op was approached by a co-op in New London that was going into bankruptcy. In June of that year, we officially opened Concord Food Co-op of New London (then called Kearsarge Cooperative Grocer), a Lake Sunapee-area sister store of the Co-op.
During the Spring of 2015, the Co-op started a strategic partnership with Canterbury Shaker Village, utilizing the organic garden space to grow select crops for our produce department, kitchen and other local vendors. Co-op Organic Farm Manager, Andy Messenger has created contracts and arrangements to only grow what is needed locally instead of growing more of what is already available, so you will still find on the shelves of the Co-op your favorite local organic farm produce.
Currently, the Co-op has an active membership of approximately 7,000 households, and we continue to grow each day.
Seven Cooperative Principles
Concord Food Co-op strives to maintain the seven cooperative principles that drives every Co-op:
- Voluntary and Open Membership without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.
- Democratic Member Control whereby the members, actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.
- Members’ Economic Participation in the capital of the cooperative is equitable and democratically controlled.
- Autonomy and Independence – Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members.
- Education, Training, and Information is provided to the members, elected representatives, managers and employees so they can contribute effectively to the development of their cooperatives.
- Cooperation Among Cooperatives – Cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures.
- Concern for Community – While focusing on member needs, cooperatives work for sustainable development of their communities through policies accepted by their members.
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Chris Gilbert, General Manager
Chris was born and raised in Massachusetts and moved to New Hampshire in 2014. Chris brings 27 years of experience in the grocery retail business, and brings strong skills in customer service, merchandising, financial accountability, and supervisory experience. Chris, his wife Silvia, and children, Adam and Ben live in Bow.
Peter Deleault, Finance Manager
A New Hampshire native and lifelong resident, Peter brings more than 25 years of finance and business experience. He attended St. Anselm’s College in pre-med and later continued his education in finance and business studies at the University of New Hampshire in Manchester while furthering his career at the Bank of NH. Peter started his first business in 1992 here in Concord and, after 15 successful years, sold it in 2007. He continued his education again in 2001 at Hesser College in Manchester in Computer Science and shortly after started a computer repair business on the side. He also started and sold another successful business here in Concord during his 15-year career as a business owner. Peter has been married for 37 years to his wife Therese and together they have two daughters.
Greg Lessard, Director of Development
Since 2012, Greg has been the Concord Food Cooperative’s Director of Development. His current role with the Co-op involves serving as principal liaison for the business’ Community Partners program, outreach and managing the marketing department. Greg holds dual Bachelor’s Degrees in Marketing and Economics & Finance, as well as a Masters in Community Economic Development – all from Southern New Hampshire University. His career began as the New York City office manager with a securities firm located on 30 Wall St. From 1990-2003, Greg was a financial advisor in Naples, Fla. where he also served on three non-profit boards. In 2003 he returned to N.H. as co-owner of the Bike Barn, where he spearheaded public relations marketing efforts. From 2004 to 2012, Greg performed roles with increasing responsibility in Lincoln Financial Group’s compliance department, where he was a key subject matter expert and a primary interface for all of the company’s business units.
Shane Smith, New London Store Manager
Shane was born and raised in Concord, New Hampshire, and he graduated from Concord Christian School in 1988. He had attended California State University, Fullerton where he studied Anthropology until 1994. Shane went on to work as a counselor for at-risk teens in Orange County, California, and then he continued counseling in Concord, New Hampshire. Shane has worked at the Concord Food Co-op in numerous positions since 1999, including our long-time bulk buyer, growers liaison and perimeter manager, and now holds the position of Store Manager in New London.
Adam Orcutt, Customer Service Manager
A lifelong New Hampshire resident, Adam attended Merrimack Valley High School before enlisting in the Air National Guard in 2010 as an aircraft hydraulic systems specialist on the KC-135 “Stratotanker”. He worked a mixture of part time and full time jobs on base while studying Business Management at NHTI. He started his career at the Co-op in 2012 and has held multiple positions since, including Health & Beauty Clerk and Store Manager of the New London store, before accepting the position of Customer Service Manager in late 2015. Adam currently lives in Penacook with his wife, son and dog, and enjoys playing guitar in his free time.
Nick Schneider, Data Integrity Manager
Nick was born in Concord, New Hampshire. He graduated from Bishop Brady High School in 1998. Nick has worked at the Concord Food Co-op since 1995. He has had numerous positions at the Concord Co-op, making him amongst our most indispensable employees. The knowledge Nick has in natural foods is extensive.
Lexi Cartier, Grocery Manager
Lexi grew up in New Hampshire before relocating to Colorado to complete her high school education and initial college career at the University of Northern Colorado. Before coming to the Co-op, she explored jobs in banking, lending, and real estate, and was previously a loan analyst before joining the Co-op team in 2014. In addition to being our grocery manager, Lexi is also furthering her education at Southern New Hampshire University. She is studying psychology and hopes to enter a doctoral program soon. Lexi now resides in Manchester where her time is often spent on home improvement projects.
Jacob Maxwell, Bakery Manager
Jacob was born in Colorado and has lived all over the country. He earned a culinary arts degree from the Pacific Institute of Culinary Arts in Vancouver in 2001 and has worked in many kitchens, from French fine dining to an outpost fishing lodge in Alaska. Baking is his specialty and he also makes chocolate bars and truffles out of his home. He has been in New Hampshire since 2009 and is thrilled to be with the Co-op.
Keith McCormack, Executive Chef
Keith has been cooking professionally for 11 years and joined the Co-op in September 2016. He received his associates and bachelors degrees from the New England Culinary Institute in the heart of Vermont. Keith gained work experience in some of the top fine dining locations in Boston, such as Sel de la Terre and L’espalier. He taught at NECI for a year and presented more than 1,000 promotional demonstrations for the school as a one man show.
Patrick Gale, Produce Manager
Patrick is a New Hampshire native who started working with produce in 2008 when he and some friends started a farm and community garden on the seacoast of NH. Now, after working on the production end of produce and getting to know the local farming community, Pat has decided to join us here at the Co-op! When not at the Co-op or spending time with his daughter, Nora, Pat makes his way around New England doing comedy, playing music in the band “Sensitive Men”, and telling stories.
Andy Messenger, Co-op Organic Farm Manager
Born and raised in Concord, NH. After discovering the joy of an agrarian lifestyle while volunteering on a coffee farm in Hawai’i, Andy decided to earn his bachelor’s degree in sustainable agriculture from Sterling College in Vermont. Since graduating, he has been working on organic vegetable farms across the Northeast for the past 7 growing seasons. What initially drew Andy to farming was a desire to make a positive impact on the environment and the health of his community. He finds farming to be a perfect blend of intellectual stimulation, problem solving, physical exertion, and local impact. Andy is extremely excited to be back in his hometown working on expanding accessibility to local, organic food.
Doris McGurrin; Bulk Food Buyer
Doris has worked at the Sant Bani School, and was a silver/goldsmith for 12 years in her husband, Tom’s, jewelry business. For several years Doris has painted a project for The Friends Program Auction held in the spring. She has been a vegetarian for about 40 years. She’s held several positions at the Co-op since she started here in 2006.