Bill was known for instilling us with the spirit of generosity.
“Cooperation is a practice. Generosity pervades the practice of cooperation. The spirit of generosity, in its bold and subtle forms, broadcasts and cultivates the seeds of cooperation.”
Bill Gessner’s involvement in the food cooperative community spanned 41 years and he is credited with having helped transform the community from a hodgepodge of individual stores into an integrated, values-driven national community of consumer-owned retail groceries that has changed the way America thinks about food. His commitment to developing people, organizations and systems is evident in his record of achievement. He recognized the need for co-ops to share information about operations and best practices and helped found the Cooperative Grocers Information Network (CGIN). He pioneered the concept of establishing food co-op consulting teams by bringing that focus to several cooperative development organizations before becoming a founding member of the CDS Consulting Cooperative. His work has resulted in the creation of many educational and measurement tools and he was instrumental in the creation of the development model which is at the heart of today’s new food co-op development. Recognizing the power of networking and collaboration, he helped establish a Midwestern regional Cooperative Grocers Association to enable that interaction to occur and he was a driving force behind the creation of the National Cooperative Grocers Association.