Mary Lavelle in her new office. Screenshot from Zoom taken by Anastasia Avvakumova.

At the start of January, Mary Lavelle officially stepped into the position of general manager at the Cortes Natural Food Co-op.

The job had been vacant since last March, with the extra duties divided between two senior staff, Meg MacDonald and Carly Mersereau, who acted as interim store manager and interim deli manager, respectively.

Lavelle is now officially taking the reigns, having transitioned from her many years of managing Manson’s Community Hall as well as working at the Cortes Health Center.

Eric Hargrave had been the previous general manager for nine years before he and family relocated to Lund last March. He emailed a comment for this story:

“Because of all the hours I spent at the Co-op – and despite all the hours I spent at the Co-op – I love the people and the place beyond measure. I know it will be different the next time I walk through those doors, but now I don’t have to worry that it will be different in the wrong way. Mary brings the poise, aptitude, and intelligence that the job requires, and she’s true Cortes through and through.”

Listen below to the interview with Mary Lavelle about her first three weeks, the co-op’s staffing and new backroom:

This program was funded by a grant from the Community Radio Fund of Canada and the Government of Canada’s Local Journalism Initiative.