Staff Profile: Shelly Bujnicki

On a rainy afternoon last week, I sat down in the deli with cashier Shelly Bujnicki, to get to know her better. Shelly has been working at the Co-op on and off since 2012.

            A cashier since the fall of 2013, Shelly started at the Co-op in the Wellness department. She was well suited for that position, having owned a vitamin and supplement mail order business for many years, as well as growing up as a health-conscious vegetarian. After working a variety of jobs in and around Moscow, in 2012 Shelly found herself ready to put down roots. A friend who worked here told her about an opening. Since she had shopped in natural food stores all her life, she told me coming to work at the Co-op felt like coming home.

            “I’m very addicted to the natural foods industry and stores like the Co-op. I love the variety of people I find here, all working toward the common goal of taking good care of their families’ health,” Shelly said. She also thinks organics and local, non-GMO foods are vitally important. “My parents were both vegetarians, and they’ve been talking about the dangers of pesticides and GMO foods since I was a kid.”

            Shelly loves working with like-minded people. And she also likes the way the Co-op’s network stretches far beyond its doors. “The store helps connect all kinds of people, including the natural dentist in town as well as local growers,” she said.

            Beginning in the spring of 2008, Shelly worked for one of the farms that supplies the Co-op. She moved to the Palouse at that time to work for Tourmaline Farms, in Deary. She and her family had been living in Vermont, selling supplements and home-schooling their two boys. “We saw an ad in Acres Magazine, and we thought it was a great opportunity to work on the land. We wanted to do more as a family together, and to grow our own food.”

            Shelly now lives in town, with her sons, Korben, 11, and Noah, 8, and sixty baby chicks. Her big project this spring will be to build a chicken coop and pens. “I’m learning a lot from books now,” she told me. “Country Women is a great one for how-to instructions.” Joel Salatin’s books, on raising birds and cows on a rotating field model, have also been a big influence.  Shelly told me she is also grateful for the help of neighbors and friends.

            When she’s not working at the Co-op or tending her flock, Shelly likes to take her boys camping and hiking in the area. She also enjoys her daily walk to work, which takes her across much of town. If you see her walking by, be sure to say hello.

Naomi’s son, Ben, who is four, really really wants to adopt one of Shelly’s chicks.