As the results of the election were solidified early Wednesday morning, our thoughts as business owners and employers were especially with our staff and our local community. Our hearts ached thinking about the impact of the language used in the campaign and the likely policy changes will have on our diverse community, and the health and wellness of our planet.
Here’s are the notes we wrote to our staff, from two generations of owners:
From Emily & Caleb:
Many of you may be feeling as Caleb and I are feeling tonight. Disillusioned, fearful for the future... frankly, in disbelief. Whatever the final outcome, this election has brought to light a lot of painful truths about our country and how we understand each other as citizens and humans.
We don't know what the next days, weeks, months and years will bring. One thing that's giving us both hope right now is the work we're doing every day, along with you all. This small business that my parents started, over 42 years ago, is a beacon of hope and a microcosm of possibility for a better world.
One of our deeply held core values is to treat each other, and all of our stakeholders, with "dignity, respect, and appreciation." Now, maybe more than ever, that seems so critically important.
On behalf of the entire ownership team, thank you for working alongside us.
We're truly looking forward to seeing your faces tomorrow.
Emily + Caleb
From Michael & Elizabeth:
Yes, echoing Emily's words! I won't sugar coat the situation (even with organic, fair trade coconut sugar produced in a locally owned, solar powered women led factory). These are trying times. One of the advantages of getting older is experiencing and surviving many such times.
In mine and Elizabeth's minds, our shared goal is not just to survive but to thrive. Perhaps more important it is, as Emily said, to be a beacon and an oasis for others who are dealing with the same (or worse) challenges.
I am at the airport heading off to Denver for an Independent Natural Foods Retailers Association (INFRA) board meeting. I can't say we slept much last night and we were both half hoping the meeting would get cancelled. And yet, INFRA represents some of the best aspects and people of the organic and natural products industry. As such we are important examples of businesses who are about much more than the "bottom line" and in fact keep striving to move the argument for organic and biodynamic, legitimate fair trade, ethical business practices and support and participation in community that much further.
On that aspect we will not waver! And there are literally many, many millions of people and thousands of businesses and organizations like ours striving towards a healthier and more fair society. We will not be intimidated or stopped by any election or really by anything.
I really wish I was staying back and could have some "side discussions" with any and all of you and I'm envious that Elizabeth gets to be there. And yet, I know I am speaking for both of us (and Emily and Caleb) to say how grateful and appreciative we are of our strong, dynamic and kind-hearted staff and how together we will carry on with conviction, dignity and yes, sincere optimism.
--Michael and Elizabeth
When thinking about what to write and how to write it, we immediately referred back to our core values. Our core values guide everything we do as a business. They allow us to serve our customers and our community, work alongside one another, and conduct business in a way that we believe is making the world a more just, equitable, and healthy place to live. They ensure that we’re on the path to actualizing our mission in the world. They are what make us, uniquely us. And, they make us extremely proud.
These eight values have guided us for over 42 years and we think that it’s the perfect time to share them with all of you, our community, so you know what we stand for and strive for.
Treat our customers, suppliers, delivery people, and each other with dignity, respect, and appreciation.
Make every person’s experience as meaningful and enjoyable as we would wish ours to be.
Seek out and research the finest products available.
Promote values of doing business ethically and grow in thoughtful and principled ways.
Strive to build a more fair, equitable, and kinder world and be a resource for health and happiness, both locally and globally.
Earn an honest profit and pay honest wages based on our success individually and collectively.
Keep our business beautiful, sparkling, clean, and organized at all times so that our our customers feel peaceful and energized in their experience.
Work hard, have fun, encourage laughter.