January 2006

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Customer Comments

General Manager's Report

Board Report: An Update on Expansion

Deli News

Operations News

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Producer Profile: Heartland Bison

Health & Wellness News

Specials Information

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Crock Pot, Co-op Style

The State of Slow Food Madison

Ask the Midwife

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General Manager's Report

Looking Back, Looking Forward

by Anya Firszt, General Manager

It was 20 years ago this month that I began volunteering at the Co-op after moving from Lima, OH. I have seen a great many things change in that time—store sales were $1,301,000 per year and the retail space was 1500 square feet. Clyde’s appliance store was located adjacent to the corner retail site location at 1206 Williamson Street—and, within my first six months of being at the Co-op, the first major expansion into that adjacent storefront occurred. The Co-op has since undergone three remodels and a relocation to a 9500 square foot retail site. The number of Co-op employees has grown (if my memory is correct) from 20 to 156. The Co-op currently operates two sites; the 1221 retail and the off-site kitchen. In 20 years from today, if the Co-op were to undergo the same rate of increase as the last 20 years, we will operate at least two more sites and projected sales totals would be to hard to calculate or 50 million bucks! And, well I guess the membership would grow to 26,000! Wow.

And, while many things have changed in my tenure at the Co-op, one constant is that we are in expansion mode—always looking for that next opportunity for growth. The work being done to identify a second (third or fourth) site is not easy—it is a huge challenge trying to identify the location and outlining the details of the space and the lease, etc. Ah—but fun too.

Final audit results

The accountants from Wegner finalized the FY2005 audit report last week—the year end results will be presented to the membership in the annual report to be produced and generated mid-February 2006. But, in a nutshell, the sales total for FY2005 were $13,2170,000, which is higher than budgeted sales by 3.25%; margin came in only slightly under budget; and personnel expenses were above budget by a 1%. Nicely done!

A short fiscal year

This fiscal year is a short one—three quarters in length to adjust for our change in the fiscal year to June 30. The same amount of work needs to get accomplished as in previous years only in a condensed period of time—drafting the budget for FY2007 is timed to happen four months before it use to. Thusly the membership needs to approve the budget in June not September. While the staff performs our routine operational tasks, the Board and our ad hoc committees are working on the next option for growth and expansion. Keep your thoughts and ideas for expansion coming—the Board can be contacted via or you can also contribute by completing a customer comment card that can be found at the front of the retail site. I can also be contacted at or by calling the Co-op business number 251-0884.

Holiday hours

Just a reminder that we’re open regular hours December 31st and closed on New Year’s Day. Happy New Year to you all. Cheers.