Medford Food Co-op hires general manager

Medford Food Co-op hires general manager

In a step toward realizing its vision of opening a community-owned market of organic, local food, the Medford Food Co-op has hired a former certified public accountant/restaurateur to manage the new store on South Riverside Avenue.

Ashland resident Emile Amarotico, who helped found Standing Stone Brewing Co. in Ashland, will be the co-op's first general manager.

"We could search a long time and could never find a better candidate," said Jim Sims, co-op president. "He had (business) start-up experience and had the unusual background of being a CPA. We are very fortunate."

Amarotico, 51, was selected out of a pool of 15 candidates by a co-op committee made up of local business leaders, including Barry Robino, general manager of the Grange Co-op, Richard Katz, general manager of the Ashland Food Co-op, Janet Shalda, former human resources director for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Karen Fronek, a marketing and public relations specialist, and co-op vice president John Miele. Their votes for Amarotico were unanimous, Sims said.

In addition to founding and managing Standing Stone, Amarotico has been a management consultant and taught accounting and food and beverage management at Southern Oregon University.

As a volunteer, he has served on the Ashland Food Co-op Finance Committee, the Oregon Restaurant Education Foundation board, the Ashland Family YMCA Endowment board and the city of Ashland Audit Committee.

"I think I'm a really good fit," Amarotico said. "My background is a lot of project management and the ability to keep the big picture in mind while dealing with all the minutia."

He has a bachelor's of science degree in accounting and computer information systems from SOU and is an honors graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. He also is a certified Food Management Professional.

The co-op, at 945 S. Riverside Ave., could open as soon as late December, depending on the progress of about $250,000 in renovations Medford-based Batzer Construction is doing on the co-op as a part of the co-op's lease agreement with the Batzer family, which owns the building, Sims said.

Currently, the co-op is seeking feedback on future customers' organic and locally grown food preferences.

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Reach reporter Paris Achen at 541-776-4459 or e-mail

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