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Food Co-op finds first manager

The Bethlehem Food Co-Op has hired its first-ever general manager, who joined the organization May 1.

Following a national search that began last fall, the co-op’s board has named Eric Shamis of Easton to the new position. He will work closely with the board to guide the fit-out of the store in the space leased from Peron Development, as well as the hiring of employees and opening of the store.

Said Shamis: “I am thrilled to take part in the historical movement that is creating a community hub in the heart of Bethlehem. It’s an exciting opportunity to offer healthy, locally sourced and reasonably priced food in a fun and inviting atmosphere.”

The co-op, which was organized in the fall of 2011, is working to bring a community-owned, ‘everyone welcome’ grocery store to 250 E. Broad St., Bethlehem. The full service market is scheduled to open in late 2023.

“We’re excited to have found Eric to lead us into the next important phase of the Bethlehem Food Co-Op,” said Carol Ritter, chair of the co-op’s board. “His experience and values are a great fit for our organization, and we are very excited to begin working with him.”

Shamis is an experienced retail leader with 21 years in retail operations, 17 of them in retail management, and 14 years specifically in grocery operations.

At 16 years old, Shamis started pushing carts for a regional grocer; this began his fascination with the grocery business. He went on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Temple University in 2010 with a degree in marketing. After graduation, he rejoined the grocery industry as an assistant store manager. In 2013, he joined a large international grocer, where he continued to manage stores.

Shamis has held various leadership roles, including training new store management, helping with new store openings, serving as a district green captain (which focused on a store’s environmental impact), and being a district leader for a business resource group that focused on awareness and barrier removal for those shoppers with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Most recently, Shamis was a store manager for a large grocery cooperative, where he continued his focus on training and development.

He enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, volunteering in the community, hiking, walking, and listening to music.

Contributed article

Contributed photo by Nick Chismar Eric Shamis is an experienced retail leader.