It's unanimous — Allan Broom ready to lead Kootenay Co-op into a new era
Friday is a very special day for one of the most successful independent food retailers in Canada.
Not only is the Kootenay Co-op celebrating its 41st birthday, but the grocery retailer is also on the eve of moving to its new location at Vernon and Hendryx Streets with a new General Manager.
Allan Broom, who has been in the GM’s chair since June 1st, is excited with his new job after being the unanimous selection by the Kootenay Co-op Board of Directors.
“It’s a quantum step, and my background . . . what I bring to the table is experience in change management in different companies,” Broom told The Nelson Daily in a recent interview.
Board president Jon Steinman said that Broom’s “people skills, fresh perspective and experience in change management” would be vital to the Co-op during this transitional phase.
“Our co-op is in its most substantial transition in its history, and Allan brings an impressive level of experience managing change within small- to medium-sized businesses,” Steinman said.
“It was these skills, along with Allan’s reputation for exceptional customer service, which led the Board to select him from a field of very strong candidates.”
The Board of Directors created a Search Committee in the fall of 2015 to ensure the process of finding a new General Manager went smoothly.
The Committee worked closely with a specialist with CDS Consulting Co-op, a consultancy company that specializes in retail food co-ops.
Broom is about as local as you can get, with a grandmother that grew up in Nelson, both parents born in Trail, and a sister that resides in Rossland.
Broom plans on bringing this community spirit to the Co-op as it moves forward into a new, larger location at the Nelson Commons.
“In every town they had a commons area the town is centred around, where people got together and socialized and that’s really what the co-op can be in the new location,” Broom explained.
Broom said that the move to the new location in the Commons is going to solve a lot of the problems currently facing the Co-op, as well as opening new avenues for fortifying the relationship between the store and the community.
“It allows us to strengthen that relationship and do a better job for our members,” Broom said of the Kootenay Co-op that got its start in 1975 as a small co-operative in the Slocan Valley.
“I think everyone recognizes that the Co-op has grown and overfilled the current space; things like not having our own parking lot, having all the members jammed into the place so if you show up there during peak hours some people turn around and leave because it’s too full. A lot of that is getting resolved by this step,” he said.
“By making it more convenient and easier for the members and making it more enjoyable to even sit down and have a coffee at the co-op and the park outside, it’s going to be much more.”
Broom replaces Acting General Manager Paul Kelly, who has been overseeing the Co-op for the past year.
Kelly will continue on as the Co-op’s Assistant GM.
“With our new store nearing completion, and with Allan as our new GM, our Co-op is well-positioned to significantly expand our role in the region as the Kootenays’ True Local grocery store,” said Steinman.
“On behalf of the Co-op’s 14,000 member-owners, the Board welcomes Allan Broom to the Kootenay Co-op!” he said.
The party Friday runs from 6-9 p.m. at the current 200 Baker Street location.
There will be cake and treats handed out as well as prizes to members.
Broom will also be on hand to meet and greet and lead the celebration.
Just the first of many jobs on his calendar as the Kootenay Co-op prepares to enter a new era of grocery retailing.