Meet Mike, the GM!

Back in February 2017, KCFC hired its first General Manager, Mike Richards. Mike comes to us from Creekside Food Co-op where he served as their Operations Manager. To help member-owners learn a little more about himself, Mike sat down to answer a few questions and his vision for KCFC!

Image of Mike, the GM in a red sweater

  1. Can you tell us about your experiences in grocery and food?

    I have been in the natural foods industry since 1997. I spent almost 18 years working for Whole Foods.  Most recently I had been working for Creekside Co-op in Elkins Park, PA.  At Whole Foods I spent most of my time in the meat department as a butcher and later a meat manager. At Creekside Co-op, I also set up and worked in the meat department and then moved into an Operations Manager role.  

  2. How would you describe your management style?

    My job is to create a positive, productive work environment for the staff.  I believe this is attained by empowering the staff to engage in their job. Training is an important part of the job and I plan on implementing an open book management philosophy giving ALL members of staff access to store financials, as well as being part of creating solutions to problems that arise within the store.

  3. What attracted you to KCFC and the Riverwards in general?

    Like a lot of other people, I was curious to see what all the excitement was about. As I prepared for my interview and started to spend more time in the neighborhood I was drawn to the passionate sense of community that I felt.    

  4. What attracted you to the co-operative model? Why do you feel that co-ops are important?

    I stumbled into the cooperative model and the hook for me initially was that I could order and deal with whomever I wanted. I could carry products that I enjoyed or that served my mission to provide quality natural products. I remain a part of the co-op model because of the connection I have with the people involved in it. It is a partnership between the vendor, the co-op and the member, each of us are vested in the success and happiness of the other.    

  5. What are your ideas to making KCFC accessible to everyone in the neighborhood?

    I think that people need to be able to find value at the co-op.  Value does not necessarily mean the cheapest.  To me value means quality products at a fair price. There will certainly be members that are shopping on a limited budget and there will also be members looking for quality local products where price is not necessarily the determining factor. It is going to be a balance and member feedback is what is going to drive those decisions. It is not going to be easy, but I certainly would not have taken this job if I didn’t think it would be possible.

  6. What will you be looking for as you hire staff at KCFC?

    A friendly face, a willingness to learn and a commitment to the job and each other.  I will be posting jobs in the future and I am hoping to hire people from the community.  There will be jobs that require more skill or knowledge, but it’s not brain surgery.  Attitude is the most import quality, any person can be taught the rest.

  7. Do you have any hobbies or special talents?

    I have two teenage kids so right now my hobbies are soccer practice and chauffeuring.  I enjoy being outside, I love the winter and the ability to go skiing, but now I am looking forward to going hiking on my days off.

  8. What is your favorite thing to cook?

    I love making soups and stews, sadly we are moving away from that time of year.

  9. What is your favorite item that Creekside sells that you are excited to bring to Kensington?

    I look forward to bringing lots of different local products to Kensington.  I am most excited to provide the community with local fresh seasonal produce.  

  10. Whiz, American or Provolone?

    American cheese, fried onions, and ketchup. My favorite place to get one is Carmen’s at Reading Terminal Market.

Got a question of your own for Mike?
Send him at an email at gm@kcfc.coop

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