From left, Co+op Board Members Joshua Faulconer, Alysia Dahlby and Terra Louise Hite, New General Manager Andre Chavez and Co+op Board Members Debbie DiSimone, Holly Aikin, Jeff Jensen and Kristoffer Eriksen. Not pictured is Tim Morrison. Photo by Skip Wecksung
Co-Op Market News:
The Los Alamos Cooperative Market (Co+op) Board of Directors has announced the hiring of Andre Chavez as new general manager (GM).
Throughout their search for a new GM, Operations Manager Sarah Chiri and the staff have kept the doors open through many challenges.
“We sincerely appreciate how Sarah has put her heart and soul into keeping the store running and look forward to all that is possible with the addition of Andre to this team,” said Los Alamos Co+op Market Board Member Terra Hite. “Andre has the personality, experience and passion to lead our beloved store. We believe we have found a perfect fit and would like to warmly welcome Andre Chavez to our community.”
Hite added that Chavez comes highly recommended by people who have worked with him and know him as someone who considers new ideas, is a great listener, a clear communicator, and has a deep understanding of the ins and outs of running a successful business.
Born and raised in a small town in central New Mexico, Chavez grew up in the grocery business and is passionate about community and natural and organic foods. His father was a butcher by trade and opened up their first grocery store when Chavez was 10 years old. They eventually had a total of three small stores, which they sold after 26 years.
In 2004, Chavez started his career in the natural/organic world, starting at Henry’s Farmers Market in Phoenix, Ariz. He went on to work for Wild Oats, Sprouts Farmers Market, and Sunflower Farmers Market (where he ran the #1 store in the company’s 45 store chain). In 2012, he was recruited by New Leaf Community Markets as Operations Director in the San Francisco Bay area. Ten years later, they still talk about the positive impact that he had there. In 2015, he moved to Chicago as Director of Operations for Fresh Thyme Market. There he opened eight stores in a 1-year timeframe, and was responsible for 16 stores in three states.
In 2016, Chavez took a break from the grocery business and spent some time in Colombia, South America, where he did some consulting work for small independent stores, exported limes, and also volunteered his time to teach English to 5- and 6-year-old kids who would not otherwise have access to this opportunity. In 2021, he returned to the grocery business working at Rouse’s Markets in Schriever, La.
With this breadth of experience in different places, he said that he longed for New Mexico and wanted to be geographically closer to his family. He heard about the Co+op Market’s GM search and decided he was done working with corporate America and wanted to get back to managing a small local store, reminiscent of his family’s business. He also was drawn toward the Los Alamos Co+op Market’s focus on community, sustainability and supporting local vendors and farmers.
“We look forward to all that Andre will bring to our community, our team, and our store,” Hite said. “His focus on happy staff, high standards, accountability, delicious food, and a desire to see our Co+op robustly thrive are just what we were looking for in a new General Manager. We invite the community and the Los Alamos Cooperative Market staff to welcome Andre with open hearts and to support him as he takes our store into its next exciting chapter.”