February 2006

Newsletter Home

<< Prev    Next >>


Customer Comments

General Manager's Report

Bylaw Committee

Board Report: Audit, Sales, Nominations, and More

Produce News

Grocery News

Deli News

Book News

Specials Information

Floral News

Producer Profile: Willy Street Co-op Off Site Kitchen

Healthy Convenience Foods

Making the Switch to a Whole Foods-Vegetarian Diet

Recipes & Drink Recommendations


Community Calendar


  Willy Street Co-op logo
e-mail the co-op

Board Report

Meeting News: Audit, Sales,
Nominations, and More

by Megan Christiansen, WSGC Board Member

The Board addressed two important topics at our December meeting. First, we reviewed the annual audit as we do every December. And second, we spent some time reviewing our process to nominate candidates for the Board.

Our annual audit

Each year the Board engages an audit firm to examine the Co-op’s financial operations. The purpose of this audit is threefold. First, it provides us with a “reasonable assurance” that our financial statements are accurate and fairly presented in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (known as GAAP). Second, it gives us a picture of our current financial health. And third, it helps us look ahead to prepare for issues that are on the Co-op’s financial horizon.

This year, the auditors again expressed their opinion that our financial records are properly prepared and accurately reflect our financial situation. While this piece of information is neither surprising nor particularly exciting, acquiring it is the primary purpose of the audit. Without such assurance, lenders would be reluctant to finance the cost of a future expansion, for instance. And with that assurance, the Board can focus on the other two, more interesting, components of the audit.

Sales growth

As for our financial health, sales continued to grow in 2005, up from 11.8 million in 2004 to 13.2 million. That increase represents 12% sales growth in that year. The auditor also noted that the store’s cumulative sales growth over the last four years is an incredible 70%. As you know, we opened an off-site kitchen in 2005 in an effort to manage some of this growth; and we are still pursuing opening a second retail site. Costs associated with these expansion activities are making an impact on the store’s net income, as expected. But the store’s overall financial health is good, and we are in an excellent financial position as we continue to pursue expansion.

Our financial horizon

As for issues on our financial horizon, expansion dominates that landscape as it has for the last couple of years. As a Board we are moving carefully in this direction. We know we need to expand in order to take pressure off of our current store, and we are committed to doing this work in the most informed and thorough way possible. The Finance Committee will be working closely with both the General Manager and the Finance Manager over the coming year to meet the challenges of becoming a mature, larger, and more complex organization.

The Board nominations process

Which brings me to the second topic of our December meeting, Board nominations. We are in an exciting and dynamic time at our store as we continue to position ourselves for growth and change that could affect all of our member-owners. Now, more than ever, we need informed and experienced people to lead our cooperative. In an effort to identify and attract such people, the Board is taking a look at our nominations process. In the next few months we will be putting together a list of the various skills and experiences that we would like to have on our Board—skills and experience that will help us make the right decisions in this time of change. When that list is compiled, we will be coming to the membership and asking you to help us fill these needs on our Board. Perhaps you or someone you know will have both the skills and the enthusiasm to help us through this important time. Elections take place in September. It’s not too early to start thing about them now.

Finance Committee volunteer needed

In fact, if you would like to get involved sooner, we are looking for a qualified volunteer on the Finance Committee. This Committee is responsible for hiring the auditor and overseeing the audit process, recommending the operations and capital budget to the Board, reviewing quarterly financial statements, reviewing financial demands motivated by expansion, and more. If you have experience with budgeting, reviewing financial statements, or expanding a business, you are just who we are looking for. Please pick up a committee volunteer application at the customer service desk.

Moving forward

The Willy Street Board of Directors has been working on expansion for the past two years. We have made significant strides, including opening the Off-Site Kitchen during the past year. But we still have long way to go. We have the financial capacity to succeed, we have a dedicated ownership, we have a committed and skilled staff, and we have an experienced and enthusiastic Board. Together we will move our cooperative forward into a bigger and even better future.