Co-op Hires New General Manager

  • Ed Fox, of Montpelier, Vt., has been named the next general manager of the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society. (Courtesy photograph)

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 6/30/2016 11:55:49 PM
Modified: 7/1/2016 2:36:30 PM

Hanover — Come September, a former Vermont Foodbank executive from Montpelier will take over as general manager of the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society.

The grocer’s Board of Directors on Thursday announced that Edward “Ed” Fox will start work on Sept. 6, replacing General Manager Terry Appleby, who is retiring. Fox, 54, currently is vice president of operations for Cradles to Crayons, a nonprofit in Boston that offers resources to low-income and homeless children.

“I’m extremely excited on a few different levels,” Fox said in a telephone interview on Thursday. “One is (that) the board is going to be really engaging, and I think they’re going to be great to work with. They were so professional, so welcoming throughout the entire process. The staff members I met were really happy with their work and took a lot of pride in the Co-op. And what I’m really looking forward to is engaging with the membership and the partners in the community.”

A Thursday evening news release from the Co-op said Fox had been chosen from a pool of 70 candidates over several rounds of interviews. On Monday, the board unanimously voted to hire him, the release said.

Fox deferred a question about his compensation to the board president, Anthony Roisman, who declined to release a number, but said it was in line with similar positions across the country.

Roisman, who also is new to his position — he became president in May — said Fox’s unique blend of managerial skills, which come from work in nonprofits and the food industry, made him stand out from the pool.

“I think his connection to community in all of the work that he’s done; his history in food, particularly in Vermont; and his knowledge of the importance of reaching out to and involving our members in the process of operating the Co-op really made him ideal for us,” Roisman said by phone on Thursday.

Appleby, who joined the Co-op in 1992 and announced his retirement in February, will stick around until the end of 2016 to aid in the transition, according to the release. For that, Fox said he was thankful.

“He’s really respected within the community and the staff,” Fox said of Appleby, “and has a lot of institutional knowledge.”

Once Fox takes the reins, he hopes to strengthen the Co-op’s member base, which stands at more than 20,000, bring back a feeling of ownership — “Not that it has lapsed,” he said, “but to continue to enhance it” — and promote “a really sustainable business model that can continue into the future.”

He declined to offer specifics as to how he would meet these goals, saying he wished to get to know the organization and its membership better first.

In the interview, Fox said he grew up in Pittsfield, Mass., not far from Bennington, Vt. He attended Saint Michael’s College, and afterward worked in his hometown for a few years before taking a series of management jobs in Vermont.

That included 10 years as chief operations officer for the Vermont Foodbank, a nonprofit with a multimillion-dollar budget, and six years as materials and operations manager for the specialty food manufacturer Maple Grove Farms of Vermont.

Since 2014, the Co-op has seen disagreement among members over management practices, with some advocates raising concerns over transparency and treatment of staff.

But Fox pointed to the diverse makeup of this year’s board — it includes employees, activists, and longtime directors — as a sign that the organization was in touch with its members.

“In the new board that has just come on very recently, there seems to be a good mix,” he said. “They represent a lot of voices. To have all 12 board members come together in filling this position — it really speaks a lot to what’s going on on the board and what they’re trying to accomplish.”

Right now, Fox works in Boston during the week and spends his weekends in Montpelier. He plans to move to the Upper Valley as soon as he can, however.

“I’ll immerse myself in the community, which is really important for me, so I’ll be transitioning there in a reasonable time,” he said.

Fox said he already was familiar with the Upper Valley from occasional visits to the Montshire Museum of Science — “For everybody who’s got kids, Montshire Museum is the place to go,” he said — and, “of course,” he added, “from making trips to the Hanover Co-op.”

Rob Wolfe can be reached at or 603-727-3242.

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