Shane Huggar has worked at the Moonflower Community Cooperative, the first member-owned health food co-op in Utah, since 2013. He held nearly every position at the store, before becoming general manager, a position he started last October. .
What he loves most about working at Moonflower is the Moab community, he said.
“The best part is the locals, seeing the same faces and having conversations with everyone,” he said. “That’s always been my favorite part of this job, is slowly meeting everyone… I really enjoy the community.”
The Moab Sun spoke with Huggar about where the store was, where it is going and how he fits into that vision as general manager.
Sun of Moab: Since working at Moonflower, how have you seen that change?
Shane Hugor: We have grown quite a bit. I started buying back when we had the old store, just before the renovation. For years it felt like adding new products. And we slowly got to a point last year where it was like, there’s no room for new products anymore. So we have to pay attention to that now. So, of course, we’ve grown, and our ability to serve more people has grown, and I think our employee base has grown as well, to handle that.
The new faces are the biggest change, and supervising the remodel itself was quite important [In 2017, the co-op unveiled its remodel, which expanded the store’s retail space, renovated older infrastructure and built a new kitchen. -ed]. All of the products have also changed since then – you still have the same basics at a health food store, but in Moab we’ve worked with a few different local farms.
Sun of Moab: What does your typical day look like?
hugar: It depends on what shift I’m doing. But that’s all about placing orders and asking employees questions. I’ll check with everyone in the store to see what’s going on. During that time, I’ll probably meet a few clients and have a few chats there. Then it’s like making sure all the bills are paid, signing checks, checking emails, getting back to all the urgent stuff that’s going on – those are most everyday things that happen here.
Sun of Moab: What role do you think Moonflower plays in the Moab community?
hugar: I think it’s definitely a place people come to have conversations whether you like it or not. You will always meet someone here. It’s kind of a daily hub for a lot of people – we have our deli or people stopping in for a drink, although we don’t really have any seating inside anymore, it still looks like at a community location where people often check in.
Sun of Moab: As CEO, what goals do you have for the future and how will you achieve them?
hugar: My main goal is to keep the store running as well as it has. It depends a lot on staff, like keeping store staff and getting food to arrive, which is harder than ever this year with all the supply chain issues. I want to keep going.
Long term, I mean, there’s not a lot of growth we can do in this space. I do not know if [the board] Will be planning on whether or not to open a new location but I also wouldn’t want us to lose this location as I think it’s a great place.
Sun of Moab: You mentioned some of the challenges this year around pandemic issues like supply chain. How have you tried to manage these challenges?
hugar: I am looking for other options for food sources, in terms of our distributors. This seems to be our main problem, it’s really difficult to rely on only one distributor. But we have a lot of external suppliers, which is good because it gives us a better chance of having more products. I am looking to get involved with other distributors and hopefully get more involved locally.
It’s just about branching out and being open to anything we can do to help the farmers in our area and making more regional and national contacts.
Sun of Moab: Do you have anything else to add?
hugar: I really appreciate this work and this opportunity to evolve. I’ve been here so long, so I have a good idea of the basics of the store. I really appreciate the opportunity to be a general manager and to continue here. I feel like home, you know?
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.