Old Creamery Cooperative

Old Creamery Cooperative
Your Hilltown Community Market

Store Hours
Mon - Sat 7:30am - 8:00pm
Sunday 8:30am - 8:00pm
(413) 634-5560

What's Happening at The Old Creamery

Read Luke Schell's Summary Report

At the last Community Meeting on October 3, 2019, Luke Schell presented his findings from his month-long investigation into our co-op.  You can read a summary of his findings below: 

 Click to Read Luke's Summary of Findings


As part of the Board's efforts to implement Luke's suggestions and begin to turn things around, we were also introduced to Dan Esko, formally General Manager of the Berkshire Co-op in Great Barrington, who has agreed to serve as our Interim General Manager for the next six months.

You can read more about Dan Esko here and in our October 22, 2019 store e-newsletter.



Community Meeting & Update - October 3, 2019


 Thursday, October 3rd, 6-8PM
Cummington Village Church Vestry
32 Main Street, Cummington
All are welcome

Dear Fellow Community Member:

The Old Creamery Board of Directors has a number of updates to share with our community. Please join us on Thursday, October 3rd from 6-8 at the Village Church to learn about these important changes and how we as a community can come together to support the store.

The meeting will allow ample time for questions and discussions on next steps. We will also hear from Luke Schell, co-op consultant, about his recommendations for moving forward after four weeks of listening to us and evaluating our co-op business, operations and structure.

Many thanks to all who have attended meetings over the past four weeks and taken the time to speak with or share your thoughts with Luke and the Board. Your feedback has been invaluable to our process.

We hope to see you on Oct 3rd. A detailed letter to all member-owners will shortly follow the meeting for those unable to attend. As always we encourage you to contact the board if you have additional questions at board@oldcreamery.coop.

Thank you,

The Old Creamery Co-op Board of Directors

Summary of Notes from Recent Community Meetings


If you have not been able to attend previous community meetings, you can find a combined summary of meeting notes and Q&A from the meetings on August 26, September 10, and September 19 below. Thank you to our volunteer note takers for recording and compiling these notes.

 Click to read the Summary of Notes


Community Meeting & Listening Session - September 19, 2019


Thursday, September 19th, 6-7PM
Cummington Village Church Vestry
32 Main Street, Cummington
All are welcome

Dear Fellow Community Member:

Please join us this Thursday night for a listening session with Luke Schell of Columinate, who has been consulting with the Creamery on finding the best path forward for our business. Luke will briefly present some of his preliminary findings, and will then take questions and comments from co-op members, staff and the community.

We look forward to seeing you there,


The Old Creamery Co-op Board of Directors

About Luke Schell, Co-op Consultant


September 13, 2019


The Creamery has recently retained Luke Schell, a co-op consultant from Columinate, for the period of September 9th through October 6th.  In addition to numerous meetings and interviews scheduled throughout his stay, Luke will be available to meet with member-owners in the café on Saturdays from 9am to 11am and by appointment (email Lukeschell@columinate.coop to schedule).


Below is a summary of the scope of work for this four-week engagement:


Luke (the “Consultant”) will evaluate the operations and financial condition of the Old Creamery Cooperative (“OCC”).


Assuming that the Consultant confirms that a viable business plan can be developed and implemented that does not rely on continuous donations, the Consultant will provide the following deliverables for the 12-month period from October 1, 2019 through September 30, 2020 and broad outlines of what more must be done to reasonably assure that the OCC can continue operations thereafter:        


  • The Consultant will deliver to the Board a written plan for the OCC’s operations for the 12 months starting October 1, 2019.
  • The plan will achieve both short-term (1-year) and long-term viability, and will include a conceptual framework and alternatives for doing so.
  • For the year beginning October 1, 2019, the plan will include monthly projections for sales, revenues and staffing broken down by grocery, prepared foods, admin, new business, other, and further disaggregated as necessary.
  • The plan will include proposals to enhance member engagement and support of the OCC, to expand membership, and to better serve segments of the broader community which have not traditionally frequented the OCC.
  • The plan will include an organizational chart of staffing and job descriptions of proposed senior managers, together with target compensation packages for each.
  • The plan will include monthly key performance indicators that will enable the senior managers and the Board to monitor successful implementation.
  • The plan will include a proposed transition phase to provide for initial execution of the plan before and after the current GM's scheduled December 1st departure.

Community Meeting - September 10, 2019


Tuesday, September 10th, 5:30-6:30PM
West Cummington Parish House
27 West Main Street, West Cummington
All are welcome

Please join us for an informal member-owner meeting to welcome & meet our consultant, Luke Schell, from Columinate, a consulting group specializing in cooperatives. Luke has just arrived, and will be with us for the next 4 weeks, to assess our operations, get to know our community, and provide recommendations for plans moving forward.

Also, we will update you on positive recent developments, and continue sharing information about the Creamery's significant financial difficulties.

Following this meeting, the board will convene at the Sustainability Library for a regular board meeting, which will include a public comment period which you are welcome to attend. We also invite you to remain at the Parish House, to continue sharing your thoughts, ideas, and energy.

We will circulate a summary of the meeting for those unable to attend. Please watch your email for announcements about additional listening and information meetings in the coming weeks! We appreciate your engagement and participation on such short notice, and look forward to working together to identify a path forward.

Thank you!


Old Creamery Co-op Board of Directors

Peter Feitner (President)
Peg Cowen (Vice President)
Fletcher Schneeflock (Treasurer)
Sadie Stull (Clerk)
Michael Alterman
Paul DiLeo
Katy Eiseman
Wil Hastings

Board Letter to Member-Owners - September 5, 2019

Note: This letter was sent out to all member-owners via email: https://conta.cc/30mK5yT If you are a member and did not receive this communication please contact membership@oldcreamery.coop to correct your email address on file.  Thank you!

September 5, 2019
Dear Fellow Co-op Member:
As many of you know, the Creamery has faced significant financial difficulties since its inception as a cooperative, including chronic operating losses and a heavy debt load. In recent months, those problems have become more urgent. If the Creamery is to continue operations, it will require a significant reinvestment of time, energy and funds from our community, in both the near and long term.
We do not want to give the impression that the Creamery’s situation is hopeless. In fact, there have been a number of positive developments in recent days. A small group of member-owners has generously come forward to pledge a significant sum towards the Creamery’s most pressing financial obligations. We have brought in three new directors to fill vacancies, and we feel that we now have a good balance of financial as well as community organizing experience among our board members.
Most auspiciously, a group of nearly 50 member-owners came together last Monday night to learn more about the current situation, and offer their thoughts and ideas, one of which is already making a difference (see the postscript below). The thoughtfulness and dedication that participants brought to the meeting made it clear that the spirit which brought us together to form the Old Creamery Cooperative nearly a decade ago is still alive and well.
We believe that re-engagement on the part of our member-owners is essential to the
Creamery’s path toward viability. While we are taking immediate action to keep the store running in the short term, and carefully investigating our long-term options, we have not yet committed to any single plan for the future. We are committed to going through that decision making process together with you. As a result, you may expect an increase in communications from us, in the form of both emails and open meetings.
In that spirit, we will be holding another informal meeting of member-owners next Tuesday, September 10th from 5:30 to 6:30 pm at the West Cummington Parish House, 27 West Main Street, Cummington, to update you on recent developments and answer your questions. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to email us at board@oldcreamery.coop.
In cooperation,
The Board of Directors