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Hilltown Voices: Cummington Creamery seeks feedback on vision and goals for the future

  • The Cummington Creamery is taking stock of its values and mission as a co-op and is seeking input from its members.

For the Gazette
Published: 2/22/2020 2:00:06 PM

As the Cummington Creamery enters its eighth year as a co-op, its board of directors is seeking feedback from members on the values, mission and vision of the popular store, which serves as a grocery, deli, cafe and hub of community activity in town.

The creamery is hosting a members event on Sunday, March 1, from 1 to 4 p.m., at the Cummington Community House to discuss what goals the co-op should be working toward, and what its future should look like.

“A lot of what’s going on is an attempt to reconnect with the co-op principals and the reasons that we formed a co-op in the first place,” board President Katy Eiseman said Thursday.

Eiseman joined the board this summer and said most of the other seven board members are new as well.

“New board members can see things with fresh sets of eyes and fresh leadership skills,” General Manager Daniel Esko said.

Esko, who was hired in October, has worked for the Kushi Institute Store, Whole Foods Market and Shire City Herbals, and he served as the Berkshire Food Co-op’s general manager. He was also that co-op’s project manager and oversaw the opening of its new 14,000-square-foot store last June.

Esko noted that the creamery has struggled to be profitable in the past.

“Part of my focus is to reduce expenses and grow sales in a way that is fair, transparent and inclusive of the community,” he said. “This event is an opportunity for members to provide feedback to the board of directors as we develop new sets of policies that state what the co-op wants to achieve.”

As the creamery moves to reset its path and ensure it is operating in a way that best serves the intentions and aspirations of the co-op and community, some new changes and programs are coming into play.

Esko said they are currently in the process of revamping the store’s layout and displays as well as reviewing produce selection and pricing.

“We hope to finish that by the end of March,” he said.

He also said that the creamery has recently been hosting monthly community dinners at $6 a plate.

“We are trying to bring people together to share a good affordable meal, and it has been pretty successful,” he said. “Good food and good community are the main things we are trying to do.”

Eiseman said that the March 1 event is sponsored by the Hilltown Community Development Corp.

The Old Creamery currently has about 850 co-op members.

Early voting in the Hilltowns

Early voting for the primary in Massachusetts will begin next week. As most town clerks in the hilltowns have very limited open hours, additional times have been added to their schedules in order to accommodate early voting.

The following is a list of early voting dates and times for the six Hampshire County hilltowns:

WILLIAMSBURG

■Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 24 and 25, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

■Wednesday, Feb. 26, 1 p.m. to 7 p.m.

■Thursday, Feb. 27, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

■Friday, Feb. 28, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Voting will take place at the Town Offices.

CHESTERFIELD

■Monday, Feb. 24, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

■Thursday, Feb. 27, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Voting will take place at the Town Offices

CUMMINGTON

■Thursday, Feb. 27, 4 to 8 p.m.

Voting will take place at the Cummington Community House.

GOSHEN

■Monday, Feb. 24, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m.

Voting will take place at the John James Memorial Hall.

WORTHINGTON

Monday, Feb. 24, through Thursday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Voting will take place at the Worthington Town Hall.

PLAINFIELD

■Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 24 and 25, 10 a.m. to noon and 5 to 7 p.m.

■Wednesday, Feb. 26, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

■Thursday, Feb. 27, 6 to 8 p.m.

Voting will take place at the Town Offices.

Williamsburg public meeting

Mass DOT will hold a public meeting Tuesday, Feb. 25, to provide information on two proposed bridge replacement projects in town.

The projects would replace the Bridge Street and South Street bridges that span the Mill River and rebuild the portion of South Street between the bridges.

The meeting will take place at 6 p.m. at the Town Offices.

Ideas for this column on life in the hilltowns can be sent to Fran Ryan at Fryan.gazette@gmail.com.




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