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Sam Bugarsky

Wilco Co-op CEO Plans for Retirement at End of 2023

After four years leading Wilco Co-op as CEO, Sam Bugarsky has announced he will be retiring from the company at the end of 2023.

Bugarsky was serving as chief operating officer prior to taking the helm as CEO in 2019 and has spent the majority of his 35-year career on the retail side of Wilco’s operation. During his tenure with Wilco, which has been the only employer he’s ever had, Bugarsky has filled a variety of roles, everything from stocking shelves to owning his own store. He continued to move into more senior roles, eventually leading the retail and petroleum divisions prior to becoming COO.

“Sam has a very calming influence and is collaborative in his approach,” says Glen Goschie, former board chair and current director. “His early decisions as CEO gave our employees confidence that our business would return to the culture they, along with Sam, had helped create and refine over the years and that our cooperative had a strong leader pointing us forward.”

Not long after Bugarsky took over as CEO, the pandemic hit. He showed fortitude, walking the company through the challenges and opportunities the pandemic presented, keeping the retail side open as an essential business while ramping up the newly-launched online retail operations.

“At the same time that we’ve built the largest and one of the most successful groups of cooperatively owned farm supply stores in the country, we’ve also developed a team of leaders throughout our business lines who are able to see and plan for what’s ahead and strive for continued growth,” Bugarsky says. “I could not be prouder of our employees for their focus on our customers and the commitment to our mission they demonstrate every day.”

Wilco’s board of directors will now work with FCCS, a professional services and consulting company focused on supporting cooperatives, to select Bugarsky’s successor, as it did when selecting his predecessor.

About Lindsey Thompson

Lindsey joined the NHPA staff in 2021 as an associate editor for Hardware Retailing magazine. A native of Ohio, Lindsey earned a B.S. in journalism and minors in business and sociology from Ohio University. She loves spending time with her husband, two kids, two cats and one dog, as well as doing DIY projects around the house, going to concerts, boating and cheering on the Cleveland Indians.

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