Meet Our Team
Howdy! Want to know what farm those strawberries came from? Looking for a yummy way to use those bulk spices, or just want to catch up with what’s happening at the Co-op? Our friendly staff is always ready to answer any queries you may have and even recommend great locally grown ideas for dinner tonight.
Produce Buyer/ VegGeek
Co-op Director/interim-General Manager/cycle hound/bringer of leftovers
Head Chef/Queen Bee of the Kitchen
Cashier/Queen of chip Stocking
Hey Tifney, how did you first discover the Co-op? I was working for my husband (SLO VEG) which was located around the corner, and he asked me to walk over to grab something. I didn’t realize we had a Co-op! A few months later, I applied, and the rest is history.
Partners in crime: My dogs Bodhi, and Mommy, my rescues and my life. : )
Why do you love the Co-op? It is my one-stop shop for the greatest, healthiest stuff around.
Gotta have: Tagent wine (my splurge)
Who’s your hero? Our amazing local farmers. They inspire me everyday.
Aimee, Is it true you’re a farm girl?
I’ve lived on the Central Coast for 10 years. I'm from all over CA, though originally from the farmland of Iowa.
Co-op cravings: “Soyrizo" non meat sausage (great on pizza and omelets). I could go on, though!
You feel lucky to live here when you’re: Hanging at San Simeon Cove Beach, standup paddle boarding, bicycling.
Please tell us you have downtime! I do. I cook seasonal meals (especially with discounted Co-op produce). I'm training to run my 34th LA Marathon and I also try to get things to grow in my garden.
Surprising talents? I'm a world champion rock skipper. I've skipped at rivers, lakes and oceans on several continents and to date, no one has ever called me on my claim.
What are you pouring: I'm a Zin Zealot and love Opolo Zin.
Carol, you’ve lived in SLO for a minute! Yes, 41 years. Came out here for love and ended up at Cal Poly and a degree in Plant Pathology and Entomology.
How’d you get involved? I was a shopper/volunteer worker over at the Francis Street location for many years during the 80's. I was also a vendor.
Fave local goods? Joebella Coffee/Farmgirl Cheese/ Alle-pia Sausage.
When you need a break: Hike Reservoir Canyon (take a break halfway for the swing!)
Hobbies? Vegetable gardening, vermiculture., homeopathy. Myers-Briggs Personality.
Why do you love the Co-op? The Co-op consciously strives to avoid GMO's and support organic foods. We are encouraged to listen to our customer's product request, resulting in some of the best products we have in the store. In addition, I have never worked with such a hard-working group of employees in my life....seriously!
Surprising Talents: Licensed Acupuncturist.....I'm good at sticking it to people!
With stellar attention to detail and knack for leadership, Gwen is extremely valuable to the Co-op team! She’s the person who keeps our feet on the ground and keeps the wheels turning. As our Finance Manager, she oversees our budget, payables, planning and facilities. Thank goodness for Gwen.
Tatiana, have you always been a fab chef?
Even as a young child I was busy alchemizing any food stuffs into an ambrosial mass interesting enough to want to eat. I'll admit I was a very selective eater (my parents called it picky). I made my first-unsupervised, ahem, soup at five; my parents, aghast, said I was never to do that again!
When did you come to the Central Coast? I have cooked, eaten, loved and played, while managing a vegetarian restaurant in San Diego before relocating here 20 years ago.
When you’re not cooking, you’re: exploring nature and diverse cultures and languages; attempting Tango and Yoga, engaging with those interesting people on either end of the bell curve of life.
Culinary Quirks? I remain a very selective eater, and as Carol will attest to, I'm a perfectionist… But not a very good one!
Sara, Cats or dogs? Ask my cats, Agnes and Chunky.
Power snack: Local passion fruit on top of mixed berries. WOW.
Your chill place: Montana del Oro
When you’re not studying, you’re: doing yoga, reading, hiking, writing
What do you love most about working here? People here are so passionate about cultivating a thriving community and it’s really beautiful to witness. Also, the produce at the co-op makes me weep tears of joy. It’s unreal.
In your earbuds: Shakey Graves, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.
Drinking on the job? Always Whalebird Kombucha.
Grocery, Chill, and Bulk Buyer
Kyu always has a smile on his face and a sharp shirt on his back (way to make us feel underdressed, Kyu!). You’ll find him whipping up delicious lunches, snacks, and salads in our deli section. His creative spirit permeates every dish he gets his hands on. We’re crazy for Kyu, and you will be, too.
Raymond, how’d you get so dang knowledgable? I’ve lived in SLO County my whole life! I worked at Grande Foods Market in Arroyo Grande and been in the health industry for nine years. I love this industry and the vibe and energy of
Recent meal masterpiece? Harmony
Farms pork chops (delish!) baby golden potatoes with Kerrygold butter and Bautista farms spring mix...damn good.
It’s the weekend. You’re: At a bonfire at Oceano beach, fishing the Avila Port, painting (when I have time + inspiration)
Listen/look/read: Santana, Frida Kahlo, Anne Rice.
What makes your heart happy? Our
customers...the vibe...most of all I really love my co-workers We have a good time!
Wellness/Herbs/Register/Grocery/Chill (a jack of all trades)
Bulk Support, Deal Finder
Grocery Support/Amateur Foodie
Herb Buyer/ Herb Lady
Point of Sale/Occasional Prankster
Grocery Support - Chill Department
Marketing maven/Internet Magic
Keeper of the Books/ Slayer of the Synthesizer
Chances are Chris not only knows what you like to stock up on each week, he also knows your name, the name of your kids, and your favorite hot sauce! Bestowed with a gift for gab, Chris loves engaging with the community. His enthusiastic attitude and genial laugh is totally contagious. You’ll see soon enough!
Ted, how did you get involved with the Co-op? I was a shopper, but also through Ecologistics (Central Coast Bioneers).
What do you do for fun? Reading, biking, hiking, meditation, ("Saving the world...(As Edward Abbey says, “everyone needs a hobby.”)
Why the Co-op? I believe in the principles and liike that we support local suppliers and really support our community. I enjoy the friendly camaraderie among staff.
Dream dinner party guests? Joni Mitchell, Susan Sontag, Gertrude Stein.
Surprising talents? The ability to make people laugh with me instead of at me. (P.S. Ray may disagree with me on this point!)
It’s closing time. You’re drinking: Libertine's Good Vibrations Golden Ale
Charley, what’s your happy place? Cayucos, anywhere with pine trees (and plenty of H20)
How do you unwind? Rocking out, rock hounding, gardening, fly fishing, skateboarding + yoga
Best local beer: Firestone Walker Leo vs Ursus
Fur babies? Two Beagle mutts
Why the Co-op? The products, the people, and the meaning behind the mission.
What are you cooking tonight? Veggie soup with Humboldt Tofu Shop BBQ tofu. Best. Tofu. Ever.
Hey Judy, we hear you’re a real SLO County local! Yes, does 60 years count? : )
Who’s in your crew? 6 dogs, 3 cats, and 1 bearded dragon
Gotta try the: Nectarine syrup!
Fave musician? Eric Clapton
Happy place: The beach, always
On a perfect day off, you’re: gardening/crafting
Why do you love the Co-op? So many foodie items and the super fresh produce!
Questions about probiotics? Wondering what supplement to try? Not sure what the difference is between that vitamin or this medicinal herb? Alex knows what's up. Say hello to Alex Hawn, our Wellness Guru and wearer of dapper vests! He's as friendly as he is wise.
With a wide-ranging knowledge of herbs and spices, Teresa is an incredible asset to our team. If you’ve ever wondered about medicinal herbs, teas, and remedies, Teresa is the one to ask. Take a peek at Teresa’s wall of astounding glass mason jars, located in our Wellness section. Each jar contains a different herb ready to spice up your dinner, soothe your spirit, or heal your soul.
Patrick, what’s your Co-op go-to? A simple yet delicious Caesar salad
Where do you like to kick back outside? My mom’s backyard in Atascadero
Fave author? Michael Crichton
Fave locally made good? Libertine beer and Cattaneo Brothers
Why do you love the Co-op: That’s easy. The people!
Welcome our newest staff member! Compared to having to work at her old job at the wee hours of something like 4am, Emily is pretty happy with her new station at the Co-op. Emily is an avid cyclist - both mountain biking and touring and like many of our team members, and most days she rides to "the office," where you'll see her figuring out which cheese, yogurt, or ice cream to stock on the shelves. In addition, she still works some hours in in outreach and event planning for one of our favorite partners, Bike SLO County.
Like many fans of the Co-op, Hayley Cain was a shopper and cheerleader before she joined the team (and is still an avid shopper and cheerleader, although her high kicks could use some work). She writes about the intersection of food, flavor, and ag for Slo New Times and is a fan of raw fish, old typewriters, and punk rock shows. She has four chickens and two small dogs. Her favorite thing about the Co-op, besides the people? The fresh spring mix salad, bulk black beans, and locally raised natural meats.
Robert is a musician, writer, and lover of 60s garage rock. He's also one of our longest-standing team members! A native of SLO, he started organic composting back in 1970. He attended college in Fresno, where he shopped at a food co-op in the area, then, while trying to break into the film business in San Francisco, he fell in love with the Rainbow Co-op. Back in SLO, he worked at New Frontiers, then went on to work at SLO Natural Foods Co-op. Robert lives in SLO with his wife, Nikki, and in his spare time you can find him organic gardening, cooking, and rooting for his team: the LA Lakers.