Terry Appleby: A Co-op Legacy Retires
In his time as general manager, he has accomplished some of the most monumental things in the organization’s history. Appleby has opened up two new store locations, improved staff relations, and left a legacy that will better prepare the Co-op for the future.
Appleby’s career with co-ops began in 1980 when he was living and working in Seattle with his wife. After traveling with his wife and three children back and forth from Seattle to New Jersey where his family lived, they were anxious to move back to the east coast. In 1992 they moved to Norwich and he began work as general manager for the Hanover Co-op.
Appleby was interested in the Co-op because of its history. He valued the community-based, democratic ownership that has existed since the organization’s founding in 1936.
“Co-ops have a philosophy that’s based on the cooperative principles, and one of those is concern for community,” said Appleby. “This is a business with a social conscience.”
The Co-op has quite a strong commitment to the environment and places great value on its staff and community. When the newest Co-op was opened in White River Junction, Appleby ensured that all the employees who had worked at the former P&C would be rehired at the new store.
His emphasis on community makes Appleby’s career at the Co-op stand out.
“I get a lot of inspiration from the people I work with,” he said.
Allan Reetz, director of communications at the Co-op, who has worked with Appleby since 1995, explained, “He’s so open to new relationships, new conversations, and new ideas.”
One of the many ways in which the Co-op gives back to the community is through their “community partners,” nonprofit organizations the Co-op helps support.
The Co-op recently started a new “Pennies for Change” fundraising campaign. In its first month the program raised more than $15,000 dollars for The Upper Valley Haven, Listen Community Services, Vital Communities, and others.
Appleby’s selfless attitude doesn’t just extend to nonprofits however. He gives in other ways as well. Saying that he fondly remembers Christmastime as one of the most fun parts of his job, Appleby explained when it get busy at that time of year, he enjoys going out to greet shoppers and help direct traffic.
Lisa Thibodeau, front end assistant manager at the Hanover Co-op, said that she hasn’t seen any other manager willing to go out and shovel the parking lots with everyone else. She explained that Appleby is “very down to earth. He was one of us... If you ever had a problem his door was always open.”
Appleby is also excited about the increase in overall Co-op membership and the spread of the cooperative message during his tenure. In his 24 years, the Co-op has grown from one to four locations and 24,000 members.
“There are now thousands of people who understand what the Co-op brings to a cooperative business model,” said Reetz.
Despite his retirement, Appleby hopes to continue to be involved somehow in the cooperative movement. “I don’t really have any problems getting up and coming in to work each day,” said Appleby. “It will be strange but nice not having to get up and go to work when I retire.”