Jesse Gravelle

How long have you been cooperating?
I have been working at the Medford Food Co-op for over one year now. However, working at a co-op is in my blood. When I was young my father worked for the Ashland Food Co-op for many years. I know at that age I was probably very entertaining for the staff there and I helped move them from their old location into the building they’ve been in for over 20 years now.

What do you do at the co-op?
Just last month I was promoted to Grocery Manager. I’m very excited for my new role and the opportunities I will have to make the Medford Co-op an even better place to work and shop at. My days can vary greatly and this job has many different tasks to perform; which is part of what makes it so challenging and fun! I work with a large portion of the staff to make sure we are operating smoothly. Placing orders, stocking the store, and helping customers are all hugely important tasks to me. I also help keep our computers running and have a soft spot for produce.

What brought you to the co-op?
After I left my previous job I knew a bit more about myself and the environment I wanted to work in. I knew I needed somewhere that would value my input, allow for change, and be a positive space. I had worked previously with several employees already working at the co-op, so thought I would come and drop off my resume. The response I received made me a bit emotional, and I left with a smile on my face. I knew I couldn’t work anywhere else!

What do you like best about your job?
I’ve always loved learning about something and taking the time to really understand and master it. I have a lot left to learn, and that’s very exciting for me. I can’t wait to see how my expectations change as I grow into the position. Having a variety of things to do doesn’t hurt either.

Tell us your co-op favorites:
Right now, I’m very excited for the Atlas Blackberry Cider 6-pack that Jimmy just brought in! My real favorite has been all the local products we get, especially Annie Macs; I’m a sucker for their banana bread.

How has working at the co-op affected your life?
Working at the co-op has allowed me to take more pride in what I do. Knowing that where I work is focused on our local economy. Not sending our profits off to a CEO and executives in another state allows me to give my all willingly as it helps not only my store, but my co-workers and our customers.

Tell us something we don’t know! (Tell us something about yourself others might not know):
In the year before Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans my step father visited the city. After the levees broke he spoke with his friends there and knew they needed help and he had to do something. We didn’t have a large sum of money we could donate to help them rebuild but he was running a small business, Computer Drop-off. As donations of old and broken computers were dropped off by the community, we rebuilt them. Eventually we had over 60 computers which we drove down from Ashland to deliver to groups in New Orleans. Seeing the reaction, especially of the children who used the computers to play games, to this relatively small donation was shocking and showed me how every small thing can make our world a happier place.

What do you like to do outside of work?
I’m a very big geek. I keep up on all sorts of news related to movies, TV, comic books, and video games. My fiancée and I enjoy cooking together, watching Saturday Night Live, as well as other shows on Netflix, Hulu, etc. Right now a lot of my time is being invested in planning my wedding!

Where did you grow up/where have you lived in your life?
I was born and raised in Ashland. A lot of people I know left once they finished school but I have always been very happy with the Rogue Valley and all it offers, so I’ve never left! I can’t see that changing any time soon.