Staff Profile: Liza Swensen

Four of Liza Swensen's passions are wine, horses, drawing and painting. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in both Painting and Drawing with a minor in Art History from Washington State University. The figures that recur in her art are of introspective humans, often self-images. In fact, her BFA show examined the concept of distortion as it pertains to self and consisted of sketches and large paintings based on photos of herself standing in front of the mirror. She still likes to explore concepts in her art and continues her love affair with painting and drawing in her free time. 

She could not live without Laddy, her Trakehner, a “warm blood” breed of horse. Warm bloods are middleweight horses, often bred for equestrian sport. (Heavy draft horses, like Percherons and Clydesdales, are “cold bloods”—more of a working horse. Refined, saddle horses, like Arabian and Thoroughbred, are referred to as “hot bloods”—think racehorses, designed for speed.)

And then there’s wine. Cheers!

Currently, Liza is the Body Care Buyer for the Moscow Food Co-op. She does all the purchasing for Wellness, trying to keep the prices competitive and identifying which products complement the goals of the Co-op. She works to have items stocked satisfactorily for shopping customers, while also learning about Health products so that she can answer customers’ questions.

She started as a cashier with the Co-op and after three months moved into the Wellness position. Customers are her favorite part of the job—helping people find what they need and building new and continuing old relationships with individuals. Before coming to the Co-op, she worked at Nectar, and before that, she worked at Swilly's, a restaurant in Pullman, for two decades. Her mother was head chef at Swilly's before purchasing it, and Liza got to know a lot of people who frequented the restaurant during that time. She sees them now in her position at the Co-op and appreciates the continuation of longtime friendships and acquaintanceships in the community. She says there's a good energy at the Co-op between colleagues and customers that makes a happy environment. It feels like a "big family, that we're all in it together."

Liza was born and raised in Moscow, but loves a good adventure. When her best friend turned 30, they traveled to Thailand to celebrate. Her friend's birthday wish was to ride an elephant. They traveled north from Bangkok to Chiang Mai for a three-day guided excursion. They rode elephants, hiked to the top of a mountain (with a guide), camped next to a waterfall, cooked authentic Thai food over the campfire, played guitar, and rafted. 

Liza says that she has her passions, but is good at finding passion and happiness in her daily activities.

Her favorite Co-op foods? 

  • 1. YumEarth Organic Licorice--peach is good, but pomegranate is her favorite.
  • 2. Marinated mushrooms
  • 3. Deli tuna pasta salad

Advice She Would Give to Her 13-Year-Old Self:

  • “It's not really as big of a deal as you think it is.”

Most recently enjoyed books: 

  • My Life in Heavy Metal: Stories by Steve Almond
  • Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman

Most recently streamed series:

  • Atypical on Netflix
  • Hemlock Grove (Liza's review: "A truly terrible show. Terrible acting. Terrible sound effects. But I'm committed to finishing it just to see who did it.")

Not-so-secret talent:

  • Liza can carry 14 wine glasses at one time.