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Board Elections​

The West Chester Cooperative will be announcing results of the 2024 Board Election at our Annual Meeting on June 6. As a member-owner in our Co-op, you play a critical role in our growth and development as we continue to find new members and to work towards the creation of our store. Our first board election was in April 2019, and we are excited to kick off our third election. Voting will be conducted online, beginning mid May. All member-owners will receive an email with a link to vote with more details on each candidate. Read on below to meet the candidates for 2024! 

The board is responsible for strategic vision and planning. Meetings are held once per month, and cover areas such as: growth and engagement of member-owners; development of budgets and business plans; site negotiation; financing; running a loan campaign; and hiring a General Manager. There are numerous committees that perform the actual work of those areas and report to the Board. The growth and operation of a community-based cooperative involves a medium-high level of commitment and energy. If you are interested in being a board candidate in the future, you would be part of a team, not only with other board members but also with our ever-growing membership. This is your opportunity to contribute! Please reach out to info@westchester.coop.

Meet the current board!

Meet the Board Candidates for 2024

What does the Board do? 
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Mike Kievit

This will be Mike's second term and fourth year on the board. Mike currently serves as secretary and on our Grants & Legislature and Governance Committees.

Mike Kievit has been a West Chester resident for the past 9 years and member owner since 2021. He is a supply chain professional with 13 years of experience, with the last 10 spent in the pharmaceutical industry. Mike is currently a Supply Chain Manager for Johnson and Johnson. Mike serves as Secretary for the Coop board and is a member of the MORE, Grants & Legislature, and Governance committees. In his free time, he enjoys playing soccer, spending time outdoors and traveling with his wife Kendra, and playing with their dog, Seabass.

What does the Board do? 
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Nelly Freed

This will be Nelly's second term and fourth year on the board. Even before then, Nelly has been a dedicated and passionate volunteer.

Nelly has a degree in chemistry from Drexel University with post-grad studies at Heidelberg University, Germany. Her professional career was mostly in the healthcare industry including Director of Health Services for the Red Cross, clinical diagnostics sales and over 25 years in oncology clinical research. She has been involved in community volunteer work through various organizations, as well as her church, since moving to West Chester in 1977. Food, wine and
travel are her passions! She has contributed to 5 cookbooks and has participated in the same gourmet dinner group for over 38 years.

Regarding the West Chester Co-op, Nelly is committed to our mission of opening a full-service grocery store in West Chester which will benefit local farmers and the community as a whole. She
currently serves as treasurer, finance, and fundraising committee Chairperson.

What does the Board do? 
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Chris Goddard

Chris is serving as an interim board member and is making a mark with his contributions to the Governance & Grants & Legislature Committees. He is a big picture thinker and committed to our success!

1. Please provide a short bio, including things such as your personal/professional background,
relevant experience, leadership positions, and passions.


Penn State graduate (1979) with BS in Civil Engineering. Forty three years experience working as
a Fire Protection Engineer, Engineering Project Manager and Loss control/risk management
specialist in insurance, private industry and industry consulting. Positions held included
individual contributor, project manager, director (with 23 reports and $5M budget) and industry
consultant. Passions included personal and group success, good customer service dealing with
others (internal and external), good communications (oral and written) and project success.

 

2. What roles have you served in co-ops (including ours), nonprofits, or other membership
organizations (board, staff, etc.)?


Organizations and roles served include:
Valley Forge Ski Club (Past president and VP)
West Chester East Football Booster Club (Past Co-president and VP)
PSU Alumni Club-Chester Count (Past president)
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) (Technical Committee Member-4
committees)
Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE - National and Local) (Secretary)
Co-chair of local school events

3. What is your vision for the cooperative in terms of accomplishing our goals of gaining additional
member-owners, finding a location, and transitioning to a brick and mortar store?


My vision would be to have a brick and mortar store open again as soon as possible in a
desirable location to best serve the membership as a whole. I would envision using my expertise
in project management working with local officials, engineering, organizational skills and
communication to help the team as needed. I would envision working with the entire group to
grow membership by helping with organizing and taking events, supporting activities and
participating in the overall group leadership.

4. What skills do you think you can bring to accomplish this task?


Working with/on teams

Project management expertise
Working with officials
Communication
Risk management
Building construction, occupancy, safety/protection and exposure

5. Please offer any additional thoughts you would like the West Chester Cooperative member-
owners to know about you.

My wife and I have lived in the West Chester area for 38 years. We have seen the town and
surrounding area grow and develop into a great place to live and work. We have always
supported efforts to provide good, sustainable ways to both grow and support businesses with
an emphasis on green and healthy. We believe in supporting local and fresh. We regularly go to
local farm markets and similar outlets. We are retired and have the time and desire to give back
in ways such as this.

What does the Board do? 
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Trish Goddard

Trish has been serving as an interim board member and has already made a impact supporting to cooperatives endeavors through the fundraising committee and with her sharp and intuitive perspective.

1. Please provide a short bio, including things such as your personal/professional background,
relevant experience, leadership positions, and passions.


Penn State graduate (1978) with a BS with distinction in Business Administration with major in
Marketing. Thirty four years work experience including work as an inventory analyst and then
moving on to computer programming. I started at AMP Special Industries then worked in
computer programming at GSK clinical labs. After leaving GSK I worked as a swimming instructor
for young children while raising my own family. Passions include working with others, personal
and group success, good customer service, and good communications.


2. What roles have you served in co-ops (including ours), nonprofits, or other membership
organizations (board, staff, etc.)?


Organizations and roles served include:
Valley Forge Ski Club) (Past Board Member and Trip Leader)
West Chester East Booster Club (Past CoPresident and VP)
PSU Alumni Club-Chester County (Past Board of Directors member)
Parent Teacher Organization Committee (School representative/Secretary)
Co-chair of local school events


3. What is your vision for the cooperative in terms of accomplishing our goals of gaining additional
member-owners, finding a location, and transitioning to a brick and mortar store?


My vision is similar to my husband’s which would be to have a brick and mortar store open again
as soon as possible in a desirable location to best serve the membership as a whole. I would
envision using my expertise in IT, project management, instructing others, organization
participation and communication to help the team as needed. I would also envision working
with the entire group to grow membership by helping with organizing and staging events,
supporting activities and participating in the overall group leadership.


4. What skills do you think you can bring to accomplish this task?


Working with/on teams
Information Technology expertise
Good communication both written and oral

5. Please offer any additional thoughts you would like the West Chester Cooperative member-
owners to know about you.

When we moved here in 1985 there were limited services in terms of food stores and
restaurants. That has changed significantly except for the provision of a place to get fresh and
local foods and other goods. I have always preferred to shop where such goods are provided
and thus I believe the co-op can provide these. We are retired and have time to help out in this
organization and firmly believe in the cause. We look forward to being part of the board.

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Geordie Jarvis

1. Please provide a short bio, including things such as your personal/professional background,
relevant experience, leadership positions, and passions.


George grew up in Coatesville, PA, and has lived in West Chester for 3 years. He
attended both Bloomsburg University and West Chester University and graduated in 2023,
with a degree in linguistics. George has worked in several different fields including
hospitality, retail/management, agriculture and entertainment. George loves to spend time
practicing photography outdoors, trying new creative ventures, as well as spending time with
his partner Kyra and their cat, Sage. George strongly believes in fresh and easily accessible
food and is excited to be a part of the WC Cooperative.
 
 
2. What roles have you served in co-ops (including ours), nonprofits, or other membership
organizations (board, staff, etc.)?


As a new co-op member/owner, I have attended several co-op events. One of
the first events was John Steinman’s informational lecture about the importance of food
cooperatives. Although I already respected the goal of the co-op, this experience helped
me understand that the mission of the co-op is something that I want to be a part of. 
Outside of this cooperative, I have served a variety of roles in several community
theaters. My jobs changed in each show, I have been in the cast, working with dozens of
others to put together an entertaining product for the audience. One theater group took
the show on the road and toured “A Year with Frog and Toad” to local elementary
schools to illustrate the importance of local theater. I have worked as the Stage Manager
and Assistant Stage Manager. In addition, I have worked in the technical booth
programming and running both sound and lighting cues. 
Throughout my childhood, I participated in volunteer opportunities, in which the
youth of Hopewell UMC would break into groups and help different communities where
we could. We replaced windows and flooring in Maryland, built the base for a new
community building in Maine, we also replaced rotting rooftops in Pittsburgh.

 
3. What is your vision for the cooperative in terms of accomplishing our goals of gaining
additional member-owners, finding a location, and transitioning to a brick and mortar store?

 My vision for the cooperative is that we will open up a brick and mortar store in
the borough. Thus illustrating to the community how access to fresh, nutritious, local
fruits and veggies, as well as artisanal goods and services, will be a net positive for the
town. People tend to put more stock into something that they can see rather than one
that they have to visualize. Ideally, we would find a location that empathizes with the
goals of the cooperative and allows for an easy transition from thought to reality. In order
to get to a physical location, continuing community events and spreading awareness is
vital. As this is a collaborative effort, the more events that take place, the more the
community is brought together. This will continue fostering a trusting and welcoming
environment.


 The main barrier people must cross when deciding to join a food co-op,
especially at my age, is monetary donation. To keep increasing the number of member-
owners, I believe emphasizing the differences between our food co-op and traditional
corporately owned grocery stores is important. Although stores like Walmart can offer
cheap prices, their presence can take away from the necessity of local stores in their
area, causing them to shut down. Sure, while Walmart is open there is a convenient
place to get food; However, if they close, the town is left without that convenience as
well as not having as many or any locally owned stores. Whereas, at the co-op,
everything is local. If, hypothetically, the co-op store closed, all of those local farmers
and artisans would still be around. It is not just an overall benefit to the health and
pockets of the community; it is also a safety net in times of emergency. As an example,
the coop was able to step in during the 2020 pandemic and open a temporary grocery
store. It was fully stocked by locally sourced food, while corporate stores struggled to fill
their shelves.


Alongside emphasizing the benefits, there could be alternatives to a monetary
donation, this would help younger people feel that they can contribute. My thought is that
the co-op could open up 5,10 or 50 membership sponsorships, given to people who
contribute a certain amount of time to cooperative events. Although this would not help
the co-op grow financially, it would help increase the number of members we have in
order to show that the store will have a customer base upon opening. In the long run, my
vision is that a store is opened, more locations are opened, and the idea of a corporate
owned grocery store becomes an idea in the distant past.

 
4. What skills do you think you can bring to accomplish this task?

As for what I can contribute to bringing more member owners in, I would love to
help photograph events for marketing purposes. These would be high quality
photographs that encapsulate the environment at different cooperative events. Once a
store is opened, I can capture images of a storefront that can be distributed as
advertisements to our member owners and anybody else that is intrigued. Aside from
photography, I am a manager at a retail store, so I am always encountering new people
from all walks of life. My daily tasks include explaining niche topics to customers,

keeping the store properly maintained, creating schedules and inventory management. I
also can help physically, whether it be setting up events or moving large items around in
a storefront. 
 
5. Please offer any additional thoughts you would like the West Chester Cooperative member-
owners to know about you.


I fully stand behind the idea of community owned grocery stores. It supports local
farmers, producers and serves the local population. It also provides easy access to fresh
locally grown food at a reasonable price. Farmers markets are fantastic, but it can be
difficult to get to them consistently, having a dedicated, locally owned store to shop at
would be incredible. Food is fuel and corporately owned grocery are set up to prioritize
profit above quality, business over community. I’d like to thank the board for this
opportunity. I love to learn and am excited about the prospect of contributing to such a
well-intentioned organization.

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