Wirth Co-op Board

2017-18 Board of Directors


Roya Damsaz, President

Roya is an application engineer working in the custom HVAC industry for the last two decades. Working in this field, she’s learned to be a creative thinker and a problem solver. She and her husband have been vegetarian for some years and are moving towards becoming vegan. They both consider this an ethical obligation towards mother earth and all beings. Living in north Minneapolis, she is determined to help improve the quality of life for her community by challenging the existing environmental, social, educational, and criminal justice inequalities.

In the last few years she has mentored at Familywise and Achieve Minneapolis. She is an adventurous cook and always looking for new ingredients and recipes. To her, gardening and cooking are means of bringing people together and building a united network of kindness. As Thich Nhat Hanh says “We are here to awaken the illusion of separateness.”

Teasha Reid, Vice President

Teasha has been a property owner on Glenwood Avenue in the Harrison Neighborhood for 19 years. She misses the neighborhood grocery store, “Skyline Grocery.” It was convenient with fresh meats, fresh vegetables, and affordable prices. Teasha’s passion is to work, support, and educate on behalf of Wirth Co-op Grocery, so that the Harrison neighborhood and surrounding communities can have a local grocery store again. Teasha has a Master of Arts Degree in Clinical Counseling and Psychotherapy from Adler Graduate School, and has worked for over 10 years with children and families in need of behavioral modification. When she is not working or volunteering with the Co-op, she is teaching aqua zumba, senior strength classes, golfing, sewing, swimming, and eating healthy. Teasha has been with the Wirth Co-op board since the early years.

Mark Parriott, Treasurer

Mark has been a North Minneapolis resident for three years and loves the neighborhood. By profession he is a database analyst and has supported and volunteered for AchieveMpls, the PCYC, Emerge, and Antioch. Mark believes that it is very important that our city has a model of healthy living since there is a predominance now of fast food which is usually unhealthy. He hopes his efforts can introduce more healthy food to our community and also raise the profile of North Minneapolis. In Mark’s view, the Co-op can be more than just a place to buy good food; it can be a teaching tool. He is passionate about improving the quality of life for residents of North Minneapolis.

Kristel Porter, Secretary

Kristel has lived in North Minneapolis for over 30 years, is a Northside home owner and serves as the Executive Director of Cleveland Neighborhood Association. Porter is a Director on the  North Side Resident Redevelopment Council Board and one of the founders of the United Black Legislative Agenda. She is a single mother of three children who are all active youth leaders in the movement for social, environmental and economic justice. Porter has been a member of cooperatives for over 30 years and has been a member of Wirth Co-op for over 2 years where she chaired the Hiring and Membership Committees. She enjoys gardening, raising her hens, camping, fishing, riding bike, rollerblading through North Minneapolis and swimming. Just a few of her many passions are to familiarize and educate her community about clean energy, agriculture, and healthy eating.

Kimberly Caprini

Kimberly is a Northside resident and small business owner.  She is an advocate for North Minneapolis Public Schools, sitting on several site councils/committees in schools and at Minneapolis Public Schools headquarters.  Kimberly is also a community activist and currently in her second term on the Board Directors for the Cleveland Neighborhood Association.  She enjoys spending time with her husband of 18 years and their 2 teenage daughters.

Kimberly believes that Wirth Co-op will be a very valuable resource for her community not only by providing healthy food choices but also because it will be a focal point in the neighborhood.  She is most excited about the opportunities that the store will provide through community outreach and several exciting events throughout the year.  While for decades North Minneapolis has been referred to as a “food desert” she believes that Wirth Co-op, along with other new and upcoming restaurants and all the food and health-related educational opportunities, will change the narrative from inside our community.

John Flory

John is the Special Projects director for Latino Economic Development. Development projects have included Cooperativa Mercado Central , Mid-town Global Market and lead staff for client real estate projects. He has been a small business lender for LEDC for 14 years, including real estate lending. John is currently supporting development of Latino and Hmong agricultural cooperatives. He previously worked as a small business consultant and micro lender for Whittier CDC for 15 years; and seven years as a manager of small cooperative grocery stores. John has been a part of Wirth Co-op from the early years and his contributions were crucial to the development of this cooperation.

Michael Jonak

Michael is a licensed attorney with experience in family law and housing cases. During his years of practice, he has worked with Legal Aid and Volunteer Lawyers Network. He is a member of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, MN350, and Showing Up For Racial Justice. He enjoys gardening and producing his own food. To him, gardening and affordable, accessible healthy food are essential to having a healthy, sustainable community.

Samantha Vang

I have been a long time resident in North Minneapolis. I was born and raised there until recently my family and I moved to Brooklyn Center. Although I’m no longer there, North side is always considered home. Majority of my family/relatives lives in the Northside along with friends.

I have done some community organizing work around the Northside. I was a Hmong field organizer for Councilmember Blong Yang when he was running for Hennepin County Comissioner. I also volunteered when he was running for city council. I then became his intern at his Ward 5 office where I organized a lot of community events for the area.

Currently I am an employment navigator at CAPI USA, a nonprofit serving refugees and immigrants in Minneapolis. I focus within the Southeast Asian community where a lot of our clients are from North Minneapolis, Brooklyn Center, and Brooklyn Park.

Charmaine Wahlstrom

Because I was a member of Wirth Coop, I wanted to take a more active role with getting the Coop up and running.  Some of my friends and I didn’t understand what was taking so long and we didn’t know what was going on.   Being a part of the Wirth Coop Board will give me an opportunity to help move things forward, to encourage others to get involved, and to help communicate the progress to others.

I really love the idea of having a grocery coop in North Minneapolis.  My family prefers to eat organic and locally sourced foods because it’s healthier for the body and it tastes better.  I look forward to shopping at the Wirth Coop.

Billie Mae Bolden

Greetings, my name is Ms. Billie Mae Bolden I was born, and raised in North Minneapolis, MN.  55411.  I am a Licensed Dental Assistant, and a Sign Language (ASL) Interpreter.  I have always been concerned with the need for accessible, and affordable Healthy food, and beverages.

I believe that “If we build it; they will come!”  Wirth is the answer to many Peoples Prayers; to end the food desert’ in our Neighborhoods, and Communities.  Allowing us to think healthier, eat and drink healthier, and to change our mindset so we can become our Best. To enjoy good quality Lives & Life Styles.

I wanted to join the Board of Directors for the Co-op Grocery Store; because I wanted to be involved in the Benefits that it will offer.  I am looking forward to accomplishing the educational aspects of enlightenment, to be able to offer viable Employment and Training that also gives dignity, empowerment as well as pride in our Community!

For the next three years; as I do my best to Listen, Serve, and help Create a “Family Friendly” atmosphere; I will make myself available to ensure the Success of our Wirth Cooperative Grocery Store!

The Best Is Yet To Come!
Thanks to all of our Members, and Future Patrons!

Pat Paulson

Pat was introduced to healthy foods as a child by his father and has been a regular shopper at Minneapolis coops since the 1970’s. He’s been a Realtor working within the city for the last 30 years and an active volunteer. Pat is a Past President and two time Treasurer of the Minneapolis Area Association of Realtors and is currently on the Board of the National Association of Realtors. He teaches homebuyer workshops for local non-profits and has served on multiple committees focusing on fair housing and property rights advocacy.

The member owner structure of coops and bringing healthy food and jobs to the community are goals Pat strongly believes in. In his spare time, Pat trains and teaches the Korean martial art of Tae kwon Do, and enjoys spending time with his family.

Sandra Virula

I have lived in North Minneapolis since I was 4 years old. I went to North Community High school, majoring in visual art when they had the Visual and Perform Arts program. I worked in loyalty marketing for 11 years with Carlson Marketing Group.

I was on the Harrison Neighborhood board for several years. I have two kids, current ages 11 and 12. My daughter has Juvenile Rhumitoide Arthritis and my son has Cerebral Palsy. I believe in being true to ourselves as individuals and being true to where we come from, the Earth. Showing care and respect for both, will give care and respect to all.