Grass Valley’s BriarPatch Co-op owners elect new board directors |

Grass Valley’s BriarPatch Co-op owners elect new board directors

BriarPatch Co-op Community Market announced last week a new makeup to their board of directors. Three new members, Debbie Plass, Kwong Chew, and Mark Warner, were elected to co-op's board in May, and Louise Jones, already on the board, was re-elected to a second term.

"Our board is super important because it is the heart of what makes the co-op different," BriarPatch General Manager Chris Maher said. "It gives our owners a chance to participate in BriarPatch on another level, and we're expecting a lot of enthusiasm and great guidance from our new board members."

According to a press release, each of the incoming directors has previous involvement with BriarPatch. Plass, who is Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital, was on the BriarPatch board from 2006 to 2010, serving as its president from 2008 to 2010.

Plass was appointed to the Board earlier in the year to fill a vacancy, and ran to retain her seat.

Chew was also previously on the board from 1999 to 2004, and brings a background in food service, having operated restaurants, and his Asia food vending at large public events.

Warner was employed as BriarPatch's finance manager for seven years prior to retiring in 2013. A certified public accountant, Warner has worked within private businesses as well as nonprofit organizations, and serves as treasurer of the Miners Foundry.

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"Each of the three new board members have been around as shoppers and interested owners throughout the years," BriarPatch Marketing Manager Stephanie Mandel said. "We expect them to hit the ground running during this exciting year as the board considers the next steps for BriarPatch Co-op."

Also on the co-op's board are Alan Weisberg, President Alan Weisber, Vice President Richard Drace, Treasurer Mark Fenton, Alana Lucia, and Lew Sitzer.

Founded in 1976, BriarPatch is located on the 200 block of Sierra College Drive in Grass Valley. The co-op's board consists of nine director positions who serve three-year terms, and represent the co-op's more than 11,000 owner-households in overseeing and guiding strategic plans.

In April, BriarPatch announced that it was looking into different ways to expand the co-op, from relocating, building a new site, or expanding the size of their current store front. The BriarPatch board, though, is still reviewing the co-op's options, and have not yet made a decision.

"We're currently continuing to explore the different options we have, and have spent the last several months talking to our owners to get their input toward what we do next," Maher said. "We're taking that in and digesting that before we move forward."

For more information, contact Marketing Manager Stephanie Mandel at 272-5333 ext. 127, or go to

To contact Staff Writer Ivan Natividad, email or call 530-477-4236.

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