State of the Co-op—Remodel
Work continues on the Willy East remodel project! I reported last month in the Reader that I had formed a Task Force of Board and Finance Committee members, staff and Owners-at-large. That group worked hard to come up with a recommendation for the Board, which was reviewed at a special Board meeting on May 7th, 2013. That night the Board approved two motions.

The first motion was to approve a $4 million cap on the remodel of 1221.

Last August, Owners approved $2 million to be spent on a remodel of 1221. As I’ve reported in past Readers, the scope of this project has grown significantly. Since last fall we’ve found structural deficiencies that require reinforcement, identified deferred maintenance “issues” (projects), received great suggestions from Owners and staff, and added the expense of LEED certification, all bringing the total cost of a remodel much higher. Although the Board has capped the project at $4 million, we will need to hold an Owner vote to authorize the additional $2 million. Watch in the coming weeks for more information about the vote and what improvements we will include in the new plans!

The second motion was to authorize the development of a general manager committee to develop third site criteria.

Both the Task Force and the Board recognize that the ability of Willy East to meet growing Owner needs is limited by our store footprint and the size of our parking lot. Accordingly, I will be forming a committee of Owners, staff and Board members to develop criteria and research sites that could be our third location! The goal is to locate a store near enough to Willy East to draw sales away from this site, easing strain and parking frustration while providing Owners another great neighborhood grocery store option. If you are interested in serving on this committee, email me at !

Don’t forget: Annual Meeting and Party (AMP) next month!
The Co-op’s Annual Meeting and Party will take place on Thursday, July 11th in conjunction with the 1st night of La Fete de Marquette. Our night will feature Zydeco superstar CJ Chenier and the Jimi Hendrix of Malian Blues, Vieux Farka Touré. We’ll add, for your non-stop enjoyment, Mama DigDown’s Brass Band roaming the grounds and electronic music in the big tent. Dinner and drinks are on us but get your tickets beforehand.

Zero Waste initiative
The Co-op has partnered with Paul Abramson, owner of Paolo Verde Event Logistics, on a brand new waste initiative, one rarely seen in Madison at this scale. Our goal is to generate zero waste at our annual meeting and party—ZERO WASTE! Our part is to serve food and beverages only using compostable or recyclable materials. Paolo Verde’s part is to recruit and oversee 35 volunteers to help clear tables of compostable and recyclable items, and to direct attendees where and how to sort. There are two shifts: 2:30pm–5:30pm and 5:00pm–8:30pm. For each shift worked, volunteers will receive a Cooperative Community Volunteer card, good for 10% off one transaction at either Co-op location. To get more information or to sign up, contact Paul at

Owner Loan repayment update
I am pleased to report that last month the Co-op repaid those Owners who purchased a three-year Owner Bond to finance the Owner portion of opening Willy West. We returned $258,400 of principal, as well as interest earned; that represents 26% of the total $1 million borrowed from Owners for the project. Thank you for having confidence in our plan to open Willy West and being part of our continued success.

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