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Interesting piece in the Minneapolis Star Tribune about how the three-decade-old Wedge Co-op in the southern part of the city went looking for a new general manager – and hired Lindy Bannister, who was an unusual choice because, among other things, she had been a store manager for both Albertsons and HEB.

"Being from conventional [supermarkets], they took a chance for me to come here,” Bannister tells the paper. “My hat is off to them for being progressive enough to say, 'Hey, we can handle somebody from conventional.'”

The Star Tribune writes, “The Wedge may be a co-op that prides itself on an anticorporate, egalitarian approach to food retailing, but Wedge officials say Bannister's grocery experience is exactly what the co-op needs as it ponders how best to grow the business in the face of limited retail space and increasing competition” from retailers like Whole Foods, Lund’s and Cub Foods.
KC's View:
Thinking outside the box can mean a lot of different things, depending on what box you happen to be sitting in. Kudos for the folks at Wedge realizing that conventional experience can be a positive thing if the person with that experience is an unconventional person with vision. Which is what Bannister seems to be.

Even more impressive about this move – and something worth learning from – is that the Wedge Co-op makes this move not because it is suffering, but because it is at the top of its game and wants to stay there. The Star Tribune notes that the 11,000 square foot store generates more than $40 in sales per square foot per week – which is exceptional.

The best time to get better is when you’re really good. Not when you’re threatened and in decline, which is when too many people decide they need to hire a consultant, convene a committee and think about what to do next.