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Launched in 2014 by journalist Sean Baker, Med City Beat is an independent news source covering government, business and culture in Rochester, Minnesota.

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Annie at register one

Annie at register one

With a sincere smile and an open heart, Annie embodies the culture of a cooperative. 

Since joining the team at the People’s Food Co-op six years ago, Annie has used her humor, charm and genuine compassion for others to make connections with thousands of customers who have walked through the co-op’s doors — treating each as if they are her neighbor. 

“I rarely have a day when I don’t want to come to work,” she tells us. “You never know who you are going to run into.”

For Annie, a Wisconsin native who has also lived in Chicago and Arizona, the interactions she has with customers and co-workers are the most rewarding part of her work. She says It never fails to amaze her just how engaging, friendly and generous people can be.

“The gift that we have is to work with and support people from all walks of life, in all situations, from all over the world,” she says.  “It is so fun, so educational, so humbling … and it is our responsibility and obligation to welcome these folks where they are at.”

 Annie shows off some of her favorite products at the co-op. “I live to laugh, I am loyal and I love my co-op," she says.

Annie shows off some of her favorite products at the co-op. “I live to laugh, I am loyal and I love my co-op," she says.

Annie first came to town in 2010 for a job with the American Cancer Society. But after experiencing health problems, the traveling got to be too much and she applied for a position at the co-op. Annie had already been a co-op member, and says the organization’s focus on community and sustainability aligned naturally with her values.

“I came to Rochester with a passion for the earth, for health and for a more sustainable way of life,” says Annie.

Annie says she believes in the co-op way and the importance of supporting local. At the People’s Food Co-op, that means partnering with local farmers, manufacturers and micro-businesses to grow a more sustainable and compassionate community.

“That’s what we’re here for,” she explains. “We’re here to make everyone feel not only welcome, but feel like if they have had a bad day that someone is going to listen to them — even if it’s just for a couple minutes at register one.”

Photography by William Forsman

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