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The Second Store
and Other Business Matters

Second store announcement!

In 2003, the Co-op appointed a 14-member ad hoc committee made up of Board, staff, Co-op members, and members of other Madison area cooperatives to began researching second retail site options.

The reasons to open a second retail site were to answer owners’ needs, reduce stress on the current site, and manage our growth.

In 2005, another committee was appointed by the Board to handle the second retail site review process. The Co-op originally reviewed 28 potential sites, eventually honed that list to a handful of options that were further researched to determine if they were viable or not.

And, after four years of research and discussion, the Co-op has made a decision to open a second store located at Broom and Mifflin Streets—Metropolitan Place Phase II.

Why was the site selected?

The Board set criteria for second retail site selection and this one met the highest number for a new store including:

  • Market research indicated the site would draw a sufficient amount of current and new shoppers

  • Should reduce the number of customers at our current store by being more convenient to downtown, Westside and Southside shoppers.

  • Located west of the current store—eliminating need to travel past the Capitol.

  • Promotes density, community and urban infill on the Isthmus.

  • Access for pedestrians, bicycle, bus, car, and even streetcars.

  • Enough parking.

  • Promote “green” building construction by our managing the build-out phase of the store.

  • The Co-op will have an option to purchase the new store in the future.

The store will open in January 2008 and have 8,750 square feet retail, as compared to the 9,500 square feet of retail at the current Williamson Street location.

Why did we pick this site, especially if sites farther west were reported to be better according to market studies? This site scored highest on all the criteria considered—it had greater accessibility, potential to own, and served the greatest number of existing members.

The dollars

The projected project will cost $2.7 million dollars—that amount includes leasehold improvements, equipment and fixtures, additional inventory, and start-up expenses. The project will be funded through retained earnings, new memberships, the sale of member loans, and a bank loan.

Current fiscal year end store sales are forecast at $15.25 million—in the first full year of operations sales for both stores will increase to $22 million. The Co-op expects to grow from 150 employees to 240 employees; that number includes staff at the two retail stores and the Off-Site Kitchen facility.

The name

Both stores will be called the Willy Street Co-op even though one is not located on Williamson Street—there will be the “downtown” location and the “eastside” location.

How will our two stores be similar?

We will still be ONE Co-op. Owners can shop at either store. Both locations will have produce, prepared foods, grocery, and health and wellness departments.

How will the two stores be different?

Each store will look different. Each store will carry some products the other one does not. Each store will sponsor different store and neighborhood events based on owner input.

How will the downtown location affect the eastside location?

We expect sales to slow at the eastside location, providing relief from stress due to physical limitations and limited parking. We expect that the Eastside store staff will work closely with Downtown to plan and open the store.

The new store is located across the street from an existing grocery store, but we believe our natural foods product selection to be complimentary to that of Capitol Centre Foods not directly competitive. This new store also returns a cooperative retail to a neighborhood that had been the home to one for 37 years. And, those two stores—Mifflin Street Community Cooperative and Capitol Centre Foods—were able to complement the other for many years; we expect the same.
Currently, there are no plans to open a third store.

Business matters

Happy New Year! July marks the beginning of a new fiscal year for the Co-op—I anticipate that the FY2008 operating and capital budgets presented for your review in the June newsletter resulted in an affirmative vote.


The Board of Directors has worked over the last three-plus years to revise the current set of bylaws—you may remember reading about this work. The work is finally at a place where you are being asked to review and comment on the concepts and new language. Please refer to the website to review the current bylaws and the work done thus far to revise the document.

The board has scheduled two owner sessions for you to have an opportunity to review and discuss the work done thus far. These sessions are scheduled for Monday, July 16th beginning at 6:30pm and Sunday, July 29th beginning at 11:00am in the Community Room.

Le Fête de Marquette!

Le Fête de Marquette is scheduled for July 13th–15th at Central Park! Opening events at the High Noon Saloon on Thursday, July 12th. Food, music, fun...