I just thought I'd post the above letter I sent to the current manager of the co-op Lauren and I used to manage. In this time of deep political crisis, let's remember that sometimes idealism does win the day!
To: Matt Gougeon,
General Manager, The Marquette Food Co-op,
Marquette Michigan, 49855
Dear Mr. Gougeon,
My name is Brent Hightower. My wife, Lauren Waters, and I managed the Marquette Food Co-op from autumn 1988 to spring 1995. When we took over, the store had virtually no inventory, was thousands of dollars in debt, and was ready to close its doors. In fact, the accountant offered to give us the business (including ownership of the building we had at that time) for free, but we decided we would rather work towards building a community co-op. It took us years to bring the co-op back from the brink of closure, but by the time we left sales were up to about $120,000. I always knew there was great potential for the co-op in Marquette, but because of various internal conflicts, that was the best we could do. Still, I believe we saved the business, and we met a lot of very fine people along the way. I consider our time there to have been a success.
Yet I was completely unprepared, when I recently read an article about the co-op in Northern magazine, for the really tremendous success the Co-op has now become. It's everything I hoped the Marquette Food Co-op might some day become, and more! I just wanted to offer you all my deep, and heartfelt, gratitude for enabling us to see that chapter in our lives as one leading to such a resounding success! There are few such successes in life, and especially for those who've supported progressive causes in this era. To read about the Co-op today was enough to make my day, and several days to come!
Brent Hightower and Lauren Waters