January 2005

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Customer Comments

GM Report

Board Report

Health & Wellness News: A Basic Hemp Primer and Progress Report

Juice Bar & Bakery News: Maintaining Your Health through Juicing

Deli News: A Fiberiffic Feast

Produce News: Root Vegetables

Book News:
Fiber Titles

Specials Information

Recipes & Drink Recommendations

Ask the Midwife: Urinary Tract Infections

A Rough Guide to Dietary Fiber

Producer Profile: Maggie's Functional Organics

An Open Letter from the Northside Community

The 16th Annual Upper Midwest Organic Farming

Community Calendar

GM Report
Expansion Updates

by Anya Firszt, General Manager

Two years ago this month, an ad hoc opportunities committee was established to discuss and research options for Co-op expansion. A year ago, the committee completed their initial research, and prioritized several options for the Board of Directors to consider and present to the membership. The options were to increase services to current members (off-site kitchen); expand the current floor plan and site (mezzanine addition to increase retail space by 2,000 square feet); and then open a second site. In May, the Co-op was presented an opportunity to be involved in the Monroe Street project, which changed the priorities as presented by the ad hoc committee, and moved the second site project up to the first priority.

It was in July of summer 2004 that the Co-op membership voted to approve the expenditure of funds to open an off-site kitchen facility and a second storefront located in the Monroe Street neighborhood.

Expansion timeline
In the months since that vote, the Co-op staff has been planning the off-site kitchen and negotiating with the developers of Monroe Commons. At this point, the off-site kitchen is a slated to open later this month. The prospect of locating a store on Monroe Street is taking longer to negotiate than previously anticipated. And, it would seem that, based on the original work of the ad hoc committee, the remodel of 1221 Williamson St. has now taken priority once the off-site kitchen has opened, rather than the development of a second site.

Where we are now
To date, we know that the Monroe Street site plan has gone through preliminary approval by city council’s urban design committee. Final approval by city agencies is expected in early 2005. It’s likely that the final cost of the project may prohibit Willy Street Co-op’s ability to locate a store there without risking our core business interest at 1221 Williamson St.

Hence, if we cannot negotiate successfully with Monroe Commons, we will go back to the membership to ask for approval for the expenditure of funds to expand 1221 Williamson St. It might be wise for us to request approval of expenditure funds simultaneously for locating a second site in the greater Madison area in our efforts to explore other options.

Other second site options
The other second site options that have been presented to the Opportunities Committee include:

1. A site at Metropolitan place, in conjunction with Mifflin St. Community Co-op;

2. A site on the North Side in the same center where a Copps was located but has been abandoned by
Roundy’s, Copps corporate owner;

3. A site in Middleton that is rumored to be under consideration by a national “gourmet” shopping
chain; and

4. A site in Union Corners, which could also present opportunities as a site for expansion for the admin-
istrative functions of the Williamson Street Grocery Co-op.

Other options
The committee has also explored the purchase of farm land in the adjacent area to provide a farm-to-table relationship with a sustainable tenant farmer; fully developing the home delivery program via web-based purchases or through orders in the store; and development of a wholesale program for Willy Street-produced produce and prepared foods.