New manager at Rainbow Food Co-op
The Rainbow Food Co-op has a new face in the store, and it belongs to Steve Tenney, who took over as the manager recently.
Tenney has been living in Winnebago for the past eight years, so he is not necessarily new to the area.
“I was the manager at the Shell Station in Blue Earth for the past five years,” Tenney says. “When I saw this position open, I thought I would apply. It looked like something I would be interested in.”
After Tenney graduated from Mankato State University, he moved to Minnetonka and the Minneapolis area and spent nine years in grocery store management.
“So I do have a background in food store management,” he says. “Even though my degree at Mankato State was in psychology.”
He says what interested him in the Rainbow Food Co-op job was the way they operate.
“I have an interest in organic foods, and I like this idea of the convenience of bulk foods,” he says. “It is appealing to those of us who are single and do a lot of cooking for one.”
Besides his grocery store background, Tenney also spent 10 years in the printing industry.
“I worked in graphic arts and prepress areas at plants in Mankato, San Diego and Minneapolis,” he says. “I enjoy art design. My minor in college was studio art and I like to do oil and watercolor painting.”
He also says he is an avid outdoorsman. And while he doesn’t hunt, he does enjoy many outdoor activities.
Tenney is excited to start working at the Rainbow Food Co-op.
“I started on July 20,” he notes. “I already am impressed with the wide variety of unique products we carry here. I hope we can continue to build up the business.”
Rainbow Food Co-op celebrated their 40th anniversary this past November.
It was started by Blue Earth resident Mary Adams back in 1979. Adams had a son with numerous food allergies and she was tired of driving to Mankato to get natural and organic foods, so she decided to take action.
“She put an ad in the paper announcing a meeting to discuss starting a food cooperative,” remembers former long-time co-op manager Marilyn Palm. “The people who responded formed a committee to explore the possibility.”
That committee which formed in 1979 became a corporation with a seven person board of directors. The board continues to make all the major decisions.
In order to get the cooperative started, one person fronted a $500 personal loan and shares were sold at $5 each.
While the cooperative still has many shareholders, they have faced some financial difficulties lately, but have had support from several local groups and organizations, including local foundations.