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Los Alamos Co-op Market Hires GM

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By Carol A. Clark

The Los Alamos Cooperative Market has taken yet another major step in its journey to becoming a reality. It has hired a general manager with extensive co-op experience to help move the operation through the home stretch.

“The co-op board is delighted to announce that Steve Watts has accepted our offer,” said Nancy Savoia, board president. “Steve was the general manager of the French Broad Food Cooperative in Asheville, N.C. for the last four years and before that was the business development director for the La Montanita Co-op here in New Mexico.”

In his work with La Montanita, Watts served as project manager on two new cooperative store acquisitions, Savoia said, adding that his experience and dedication to natural food cooperatives qualify him for the challenges ahead.
“I have actually been working with Los Alamos since about 2005,” Watt said in an interview from Asheville Tuesday.

He will initially serve a non-concurrent dual role with the Los Alamos co-op. When he moves to town next month, Watts will work as project manager, assisting board members and the developers in building the store at Pajarito Cliffs.

“That will be my first duty and I will do everything from equipment sourcing to store layout and design to hiring staff,” Watts said. “Once the store is turned over to us by the developers, hopefully by mid January, then I’ll be the general manager overseeing the operations of the store.”

The goal is to run a successful, viable food co-op, he said, adding that the challenge is how to take a co-op located on the edge of town and make it the heart of the community.

“If we can do that, then we’ve been successful,” Watts said.

The 48-year-old was born in Virginia and raised in Indiana. He is single and has rented a place downtown.

“I think it’s imperative for me to live in the community and learn about the people here,” he said. “I’m really excited about being a part of the community and learning what its needs are here. I invite people to stay plugged in with our progress through Facebook and our Web site.”

Watts said it’s his charge to be completely transparent and keep the community aware of what’s going on with the store.
“I think Los Alamos is ready for a co-op and they’ve waited long enough,” he said.

Watts has three German shorthaired pointers, which he rescued from an animal shelter. He calls Gia, 9, Maxx, 11, and Nico, 13, his inspirations. He takes them with him mountain biking and said they keep him healthy. 

Watts begins working here in early October and the co-op is hosting a public gathering at 5 p.m. Oct. 17 at the Holiday Inn Express, 60 Entrada Dr. Site tours will run between 4-5 p.m.

Watts will meet the crowd beginning at 5 p.m. Refreshments will be served.
For more information, visit www.losalamos.coop.