December, the last month of 2013. The sun will start creeping back into our lives at the Solstice on December 21st, and there are lots of other holidays to celebrate over the next four weeks. Whatever and however you celebrate this month, I hope you get to eat a lot of delicious food!

Willy East Remodel
By now I expect all of you have noticed that construction is underway on the remodel of 1221. This month’s activities are focused preparing the site for construction, the expansion of the receiving area on the Jenifer Street side of the property (which includes not one, but TWO staff bathrooms), and installation of a temporary sidewalk at the front entrance. As a side note, the staff currently in the basement office will be temporarily located to an offsite office.

Third Site Criteria Task Force
In late October I formed a task force of Owners, Board members and staff to develop criteria to use when selecting a third retail site. This group has met several times and is on track to give a third site recommendation to the Board of Directors in January or February 2014.

Strategic Planning
The Board of Directors is in the process of selecting a consultant to help develop an organization-wide strategic plan for the next 3-5 years.  The overall goal of this strategic planning effort will be to assist Willy Street Co-op Board members and management in clarifying strategic objectives for the organization, as well as providing a roadmap for translating these objectives into future growth and expansion opportunities. As our Co-op grows, opportunities for greater community engagement and overall expansion are tremendous. A strategic plan will help us make timely decisions about which opportunities align best with Willy Street Co-op’s mission.

Open Book Management and Google Apps
Internally, staff have gone through two major “sea changes” over the past couple of months. I am happy to report that Open Book Management continues to provide new opportunities for participatory management throughout the organization. For more information on Open Book Management, check out this site: openbookmanagement.com. We also transitioned to using Google Apps for our email, calendars and other work. It was certainly an adjustment, but has enabled greater internal efficiencies, as well as more ways to work collaboratively! Kudos to James Phetteplace (our Information Services Manager), our IT team, and our partnering organization CloudBakers, for managing this transition so successfully.

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” -Albert Schweitzer

Dharma for kidsDaniel J. KrauseNorthside Animal Hospital

Dr. Ingo Mahn