November 2004

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Customer Comments

GM Report

Board Report

Produce News: Babies, Squash and Specials

Juice Bar & Bakery News: Bakery Special Order Program

Health & Wellness News: Digestion Suggestions

Deli News: Winter Squash

Book News

Specials Information

2004 Donations

Recipes & Drink Recommendations

Gobbling without the Turkey

Baking Bread

Producer Profile: Lathrop Farms' Real Turkeys

Thanksgiving Shopping List

Community Calendar

General Manager's Report

by Anya Firszt, General Manager

The Co-op, as usual, will stock many of the necessary ingredients for creating most any traditional holiday favorite, as well as those untraditional recipes. Turkey and un-turkey can be reserved on a preorder basis through the grocery department (see details in this issue). The shelves and aisles will be brimming with potatoes, squashes, rices, breads, pies, butters, cranberries, nuts, herbs and spices, and nearly anything you might need to prepare your holiday meal.
FY2005 budgets approval and by-law change
At the September 20 special membership meeting, the operations and capital budgets were approved by the membership and made effective October 4, 2004, the beginning of fiscal year 2005. The approved itemized list of capital improvements will be prioritized, purchased and/or installed as soon as can be scheduled. This includes a photovoltaic system, shopping carts.

The by-law amendment changing the fiscal year from September 30 to June 30 will actually occur in FY2006. I am making the call that the approval of the budget takes precedence over the approval of the by-law changing our year-end close. In calendar 2005, I will present a 9-month fiscal budget for membership approval to take into account the change in the fiscal year. I was directed to provide a report to the Board in February 2005 on what is needed to implement the new fiscal year passed by the membership. As it turns out, the change in the fiscal year necessitates the review and potential change of the dates of the budget approval process, the annual membership meeting, and time line for electing Board members. The Board has established a by-law task force to review the effect this change might have on the operation. Consequently, implementing the June 30 close this fiscal year would not have given sufficient time to take into consideration other by-law deadlines.

New site/1864 negotiations

The property owners and developers of Monroe Commons, Monroe Partners LLC, have yet to make a decision with whom to partner with at the Monroe Street site. The decision with whom to partner involves more than just deciding between one retailer over another, but includes the arduous task of designing a building to suit the needs of the neighboring residents and businesses, the tenants that will occupy the multi-level/use facility, and the City. And, I thought it was hard to meet the needs of 11,000 members, 120 staff, and 9 Board members! The developers will present the plans to the City within the month for the necessary approvals to begin their project, and that is the last report I received from the developers.

As the details of the project have been further fleshed out by the developers, the project costs are becoming known quantities and not assumptions, which has made our pro forma work not simply guesswork, but producing hard and fast numbers to consider. Gene Hahn, WSGC Financial Manager, and I will continue to review the numbers, weigh the pros and cons of the project, and determine if the pros outweigh the cons or if the Co-op should terminate negotiations.

Note: last month I reported that I would include in this issue of the Reader information about our
member bond program to support the second site. I was unable to pull together all necessary information
for review and approval by the finance committee and Board. Look for something in the next issue.

Off-site kitchen
The Co-op is expected to take possession of 1882 E. Main Street the first of this month to begin remodeling and installing equipment to support a production facility. The desired build-out timeline is 60 days, which would mean that by the beginning of January 2005, the bakery and prepared foods production departments will relocate to the new facility.

The Co-op has been working with Wisconsin Homegrown Lunch, a joint effort between REAP Food Group and the UW Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems, with the objective to supply processed organic produce to local schools. The Co-op has been committed to this effort since the inception of the project and we are eager to seeking ways to accomplish the same objectives.