Our Amazing Staff
The Co-op employs more than 160 staff in 12 different departments. From cashiers to buyers to clerks to assistant managers, everyone at the Co-op plays a critical role in serving members and customers, looking for and learning about great new products and suppliers, making our systems run smoothly, and bringing new ideas to the table to help us grow healthy and strong.
Michelle has been working in the Natural Foods and Supplement industry since 1993 and has studied herbalism under Terry Willard at the Wild Rose College of Natural Healing. Tired of being a “small organic vegetarian algae in a big sea” in Ontario, Michelle moved to Nelson as a young woman after hearing from a friend that the town had a huge population of natural food consumers. “I felt like my true home was calling to me, a place where organic food and a healthy lifestyle was second nature to many, a place where my values were shared and respected.”
She has remained passionate about Natural Healing and dedicated to empowering others to take their health and wellness into their own hands. She started working at the Co-op in 2001, and occupied a variety of positions including Wellness Assistant Manager, Marketing Manager and is happy to be contributing to the Co-op team as the Wellness Manager.
Ben started working at the Co-op in 2006, and he gained experience in both the Grocery and Produce departments before taking the helm as Produce Manager. Ben immigrated from the UK and brings with him a wide range of experience. He grew up in a family that owned a restaurant and with a mother who taught cooking. Ben worked four years with the UK’s Soil Association, which also contributed to his reverence for, and understanding of, food issues. Ben has also cooked for guests in ski resorts in France and the US.
Ben has also been involved with other related groups including Kootenay Co-op Radio, Kootenay Local Agricultural Society (KLAS) and most recently FarmFoodFork. The Co-op’s role at the forefront of local, dynamic business is exciting to be part of and one with which Ben is pleased to evolve.
Kristina has been the Front End Manager since February 2016, meaning that she oversees cashiers and customer service.
Kristina is originally from Germany and moved to Canada where she studied Chinese Medicine and began working at the Co-op in the Wellness department in 2002.
Her many years in the Wellness department helped her grow an extensive product knowledge and a familiarity with members’ expectations. Kristina is a problem solver and loves to find ways to make the Co-op’s systems more efficient. She runs a happy team of almost 30 staff.
Visit Customer Service.
Christoph has been with the Co-op since 2004 in various positions. Currently, he is excited to be the manager of our Cheese and Tapas department.
Christoph was born into a cooperative in Friesland, Paraguay, and understands deeply the benefits of the co-op structure. He started out in commercial agriculture in the ’80s, working with pigeon, chicken, quail and pheasants and later obtaining a diploma in Livestock Agriculture from the University of the Fraser Valley. He became involved with organics in the ’90s, raising goats, chickens and ducks, working for Meadowbrook farms, running a market garden and developing an urban farm on the outskirts of Nelson.
Jody, Food Services Manager
Profile coming soon!
Tyler Riddell, Butcher Shop Manager
Tyler grew up on Vancouver Island loving nature, the mountains, and snowboarding. After graduating, he moved to Vancouver, working in grocery stores in the summer and the mountains in the winter. One summer, he landed in a meat department and found a new passion, and soon took on an Meat Cutter Apprenticeship. Eight years passed in the big city and Tyler had moved up to meat department manager, but he longed to be back in nature. Tyler quickly found the Kootenay Co-op and it was a perfect fit!
“Getting to know the farmers that grow for us and the community that we get to support has been an amazing opportunity you don’t get at other grocery stores,” Tyler said. “The Kootenay Co-op is different from the rest and I am very excited to be a part of that lifestyle.”
Allan Broom, General Manager
Allan brings his experience in marketing, sales, operations and financial management as well as online business development to the role of General Manager. He has worked as a senior executive in various industries, including retail consumer products, tourism, green energy, and equipment manufacturing. As a leader, he is recognized for strategic planning and his ability to guide change in diverse cultural, political and business environments.
Allan has a strong connection to the Kootenays, with his family having lived continuously in the area since the early part of the 20th century. He relocated to Nelson from Vancouver in 2015 to take part in the area’s mountain lifestyle and to be closer to family.
Paul Kelly has 20 years of experience in the natural foods industry, from volunteering at a small organic bakery & store near Faenza, Italy, in his youth, to more recently as Director of Marketing and Purchasing for Community Natural Foods in Calgary. He is passionate about revitalizing the local value-added food chain, and helping to make organic food choices more affordable for Kootenay families. He, his wife and two kids have been living on a small farm in the Slocan Valley since 2008, and produce much of their own food including veggies, milk, eggs and meat.
Tory Berger, Human Resources Manager
Tory is originally from Salmon Arm, BC, and spent 10 years living in Calgary, after completing her Bachelor of Commerce degree at the University of Calgary. She then moved to Nelson and joined the Kootenay Co-op in summer 2016. Professionally, she started her career in public relations and then moved on to HR, taking on roles in training and development, recruitment and HR information systems. She also has experience in talent management and business process improvement. Tory is committed to ensuring that the Co-op is one of the best places to work in Nelson.
The desire for more room, cleaner air and a better work/life balance brought Sean to the relative peace and tranquility of our little community. He managed to escape the stressful social environment of big city life and has been working at the Co-op since October 2014. Sean has a Bachelor of Commerce degree, a post-secondary Chartered Professional Accountant designation and is a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants. His responsibilities include management of the Coop’s financial risks. He is also responsible for financial planning, record-keeping, data analysis and reporting. On a daily basis, he supervises the finance team and assist the General Manager on strategic and tactical matters as they relate to budget management, forecasting, cost-benefit analysis and the acquisition of new funding. He loves using his skills to support the Co-op’s future growth in our new Vernon street location. Sean is very pleased to be working in a Co-operative organization where profit is not the sole objective and community, people and ethics are highly valued. When he’s not a t work, Sean enjoys spending time with his family and is currently building a new home.
David Reid, Marketing and Communications Manager
David has worked for over 15 years on behalf of the environment and food security, connecting people with the places that sustain them through education, advocacy, and community-building. David also has a Master’s Degree in Dispute Resolution and has lived in Nelson since 2009. David literally shed a tear the first time he walked into the Kootenay Co-op, and he was very proud to join the Co-op team in 2017.