Our staff is made up of 50 part-time and full-time employees. We are so proud that our team reflects our Durham community; over half of our staff live within a mile of the store. We prioritize staff development, cross training between departments, and promoting from within in order to create an upwardly mobile and educated staff across all departments.
We also strongly value customer service, and hire folks whose friendliness and helpfulness will enhance the customer experience. Please ask anyone with a name tag for help or what their favorite product is!
Leila returned to Durham from Burlington where she was the Operations Manager at Company Shops Market, another food co-op. Leila helped guide the store through the start-up phase and developed a produce purchasing system that increased the volume of locally grown food sold at the store. She brings that knowledge with her to Durham Co-op Market as well as a commitment to make our store and its products accessible to all members of our community. Leila’s entire professional career has been devoted to promoting sustainable agriculture, local investment and neighborhood economic development through fair business practices. Before her job at Company Shops, Leila managed the Eno River Farmers Market. She has also worked as a production manager at Locopops in Durham and Simple Kneads Bakery in Greensboro.
Cris is our Finance and HR Manager. A Durhamite for 20+ years, Cris graduated from both Duke (literature) and Durham Tech (accounting), and local foodies may remember them from a tenure as the Big Cheese at Fowler’s in the late 90’s. After leaving the sales floor, Cris wore many hats, such as documentary videographer, nonprofit auditor, and small business accounting consultant. They most recently served as finance manager for Student Action With Farmworkers, a nonprofit that brings students and farmworkers together to advocate for better work conditions. At SAF, Cris was a proud card-carrying member of their union and contract negotiation team, and was excited to see how these values jive with DCM’s hybrid worker/consumer cooperative structure and commitment to creating an equitable work place. When not producing financials or resolving a conflict, Cris passes the time serving as ad hoc parish chef for First Presbyterian Church-Durham.
Davis, our Operations Manager, was the Grocery Manager at the Fresh Market in Chapel Hill, NC prior to working at DCM. Davis moved to Durham in 2012 after graduating from UNC Greensboro. He is a North Carolina native and holds a bachelor’s degree in Gender Studies – which is exactly how he ended up working in grocery stores. His primary work-related interests include democratizing capitalism through co-ops, grocery merchandising, and sparkling water. He thinks co-ops have a great opportunity to make high quality foods more accessible to more people, and is so relieved to be at the co-op instead of a corporate grocery store.
Deli and Kitchen Manager
Matt comes to the co-op with extensive food service experience, including over 15 years as a kitchen manager, and has a passion for fresh and nutritious ingredients, cleanliness and organization. Matt is looking forward to increasing our consistency, freshness, and customer service. As the kitchen and deli manager his goals are to increase and diversify the products offered on the salad bar, utilizing all of the fabulous local produce that we receive daily. Matt’s creativity and love for cooking has made a tremendous impact on lunch options on and off of the hot bar. Our grab and go section is always fully stocked and fresh and the $5 weekday lunch special is a major hit! Unless you knew Matt in his previous life, you might not guess that he was once a very talented tattoo artist and you can consider him a walking advertisement with over 22 tattoos! Matt is also a rockin’ drummer and misses his days drumming in a band, back in the day. Be sure to swing by the deli and let Matt serve you up something fresh and delicious!
Front End Manager
A Raleigh native, born in Fuquay Varina, Phanessa came to the DCM with significant register and front end experience and if the front end is the smile of the DCM team, than Phanessa is the warmth of that positivity. “Meeting new and different people, and often” is what makes working here her favorite position she has ever held. Phanessa not only recalls individual owners, but also their habits, favorite products, and which members of their family come to the Co-op to shop. “When the owners get to know you, then it is like family. .”. And for someone who is celebrating their first year anniversary as a DCM employee, Phanessa is a growing and thriving part of this community. “We sell good quality food but it isn’t just about the food it is about the quality of the experience too.”
Zac started his grocery store career at the age of 17. Nearly two decades later, and with 13 of those years in specialty foods, Zac’s diverse experience is a huge asset to the beer and wine department. His certifications in beer (Certified Beer Server) wine (Intro Sommelier), and cheese (American Cheese Society Certified Cheese Professional), translates into his love of food and drink.
Raafe is looking forward to engaging with our owners, community groups, and customers. He will be co-ordinating donations, guiding tours, hosting events, and talking about all the ways we are working to make the Co-op and Durham a better place for everyone. As a former environmental science educator, informing communities of their impact and telling the stories that can lead to solutions has always been a goal of his career. “Our co-op is not the building, but the people who use it. By welcoming many peoples into our endeavors, we ensure the shared responsibility of our mission reflects the people who deserve the successes.”
Meredith joined the team to help tell the world about all the great items we sell, and all the amazing stories and values that go into them. She is most excited to talk about local vendors and the many local farms that we work with, as she is also starting her own farm this year. This isn’t her first ambassador gig either. As she put it, “I was a goat ambassador for a Jewish farm.”
Elizabeth has been a key part of our marketing team for several years. Whether it is the vibrant sales flyer or the drool worthy social media coverage of our delicious meal options, Elizabeth loves showing us all what the co-op has to offer. “We are doing a lot of good things already, and I feel what’s next is better practices and more intentionality, doing the things we have been doing, but more deeply. I believe in this team to do that.”