Mark Sprackland, President/Executive Director

Mark Sprackland is a leader and veteran of the grocery retail and wholesale business with a 35-year track record of growing sales and profits for a range of retail and wholesale businesses throughout New England.

From 2007-2010 Mark served as Chairman of the Board of Northeast Wholesale Food Distribution Association (NEWFDA), the nation’s oldest food association providing a forum for industry research, education, professional development and exchange of best practices among all levels of the food industry.

A long-time champion of smaller businesses and independent retailers, Mark’s vision for the Independent Retailers Shared Services Cooperative includes a learning center focused on bringing these same values, lessons, hands on training and growth opportunities to local independents.

Chairman, Andy Danforth

Foxborough, MA. Andy is a financial consultant, specializing in social enterprise, cooperatives, alt energy and affordable housing. He has almost 40 years of diverse experience in real estate, lending, finance, M&A, and IT. He was founding Director of the Cooperative Development Institute’s NEROC Program, which assists manufactured housing cooperatives in the purchase and operation of their communities. He is co-founder and Managing Director of Circinus Group, which is a portfolio social lender and commercial conduit and provides financial and systemic consulting services to the international residential finance community. During his career, he has been an executive of two public companies, worked with 12 of the 20 largest US banks and Wall Street brokerages, served as a Liquidating Officer of the FDIC, and has assisted local lenders, government agencies, Indian tribes and regional non-profits. Internationally, he has worked on projects in Canada, Australia, the UK, and in several South Asian countries.

Susan Brown, Secretary/Treasurer

Susan Brown is an artist, writer, and web designer in Northern Maine who spent many years first as an art teacher, and then as a school counselor. She knows first-hand about food production, having been a part of a family-owned potato, vegetable, and strawberry farm and farm store. Sue is the website designer for and other sites, and is Communications Director and Social Media Manager for the Maine Landscape and Nursery Association. She is involved in website maintenance, newsletter production, video creation, graphic design, and record keeping. Her interests include drawing and painting, jewelry design, gardening, and Eighteenth Century reenacting.

Gary Sukeforth

Gary Sukeforth is a retired businessman who lives in Appleton, Maine. For 21 years Gary owned and operated The Common Market Grocery store in the neighboring town, Union, Maine. He literally built the store from the ground up when Union lost its only grocery store to a tragic fire in 1997. He opened the store in February of 2000, and sold it and retired to his farm in the summer of 2021. He sold some of his farm produce through the store, including blueberries, winter squash, and pumpkins. He also had a herd of grass-fed Lowline Angus beef cattle that provided the store with locally raised natural beef.

Gary’s academic background in Agricultural Economics served him well in the management of the store and will also be an asset to the IRSSC Board of Directors. He has strong skills in financial management and business planning and forecasting. Gary also served for several years on the Board of Directors of Associated Grocers of Maine, Inc., his main grocery wholesaler during the first 12 years of The Common Market’s existence.

Gary has been actively involved in serving the local communities, including serving as the President of the Union Area Chamber of Commerce for several terms. He has also held several elected positions in his hometown of Appleton, including Selectman, School Board member, and also most recently on the town’s Budget Committee. He has previously served two non-consecutive terms in the Maine State Legislature as an unenrolled Independent State Representative.

Rick St. Louis

Rick St. Louis has over 50 years of experience in grocery retailing, corporate merchandising, and training. This includes supervision, development of associates, and the implementation of merchandising and training programs for Hannaford Bros. Scarborough, ME. (A wholly owned subsidiary of Delhaize Group, a multinational worldwide supermarket chain.)

Rick supported the modification of Automated Production Records and helped develop Standard Operating Procedures and Training Guides for the company, as well as updated all training to reflect current company strategy. He trained 60 specialists for the company’s new strategy roll out for all departments and developed the store conversion manual. He created a 10 person retail support team for all Perishable departments, including training the team in supervisory functions. He facilitated High Performance Skills Training and was a trainer of Active Listening, Straight Talk, and Conflict Management training modules. He set up systems to monitor pricing and marketing in four market areas.