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General Manager's Report

Looking Forward

by Anya Firszt, General Manager

Business matters

The Opportunites Committee—an ad hoc committee of the Willy Street Co-op Board of Directors and the GM, and made up of Willy Street Co-op members and staff—continues to review expansion options for the Co-op to consider. As of yet, no single site has been identified as the site for second site development—in other words, we are reviewing multiple sites at this time. In an article about co-ops in the December 6, 2006 Wisconsin State Journal you could get the impression from the following passage—“for the last 18 months an ad hoc committee has been studying the feasibility of a second store and the membership is likely to vote on the option in the next 60-90 days”—that we have selected a second site for membership approval. In fact this is not the case—no site has been selected. We are negotiating with owners of potential sites, and you never know when something could present itself. To say that something is likely to happen in the next 60 to 90 days is not a guarantee.

On a side note

I headed out the door on a walk to a neighborhood business that I have come to rely on over the last six years. To my surprise the business was gone. I was taken aback that I had not been informed of their closing prior to that moment. I am sure it was announced somewhere, but I failed to read about it. After some thought, I was certain the business moved for a good reason­—they were wearing their business hat and now that I understand their situation, their move makes sense to me.

The discovery that this business had moved made me think about a few things as it relates to the Willy Street Co-op. The Co-op is owned and controlled by the members—all 11,000 active members. The current bylaw 8.35 states that any decision to spend funds in excess of $50,000 on an expansion project is to be decided upon by the membership—no one person could make that decision for the business. We vote on the decision to spend funds in excess of $50,000 on an expansion (second site).

As the General Manager, I make many decisions for the business, but I cannot decide to spend funds in excess of $50,000 to remodel the current store or open another site without your approval to do so. It gave me a sense of security knowing that you have a say in the business and we share in that decision-making process. The Co-op will not make a move on an expansion project without your prior knowledge and approval of the expenditure of funds. If you are a regular reader, you won’t ever be taken by surprise find that we’ve moved.

In cooperation

As predicted by market studies, heightened competition on the near west side of Madison has had a negative impact on Regent Market Co-op store profitability. The best support members can offer their cooperative is with their shopping dollars. For more information about RMC contact Jim Huberty, general manager, at

Last month I reported that WSGC would recognize Mifflin Street Community Co-op memberships until August 2007—I was unaware of the fact that MSCC has sold memberships up until recently, and we will extend the timeline to December 31, 2007.

Community statue

Sandra and Robert Cornelius donated to the community the sculpture “Adventure Mountain with Children” in the rain garden behind the Co-op.