Happy New Year!
The holiday season gave me the opportunity to celebrate with way too much food. I feel fortunate that most of it was locally produced and sustainable. The Co-op helps me make better food choices for everyday eating and celebrations.

Just as the holiday season inspires each of us to give thanks, reflect, and think to the future, the Co-op does the same. Our Board of Directors is thinking beyond an annual resolution. We are working with the Co-op staff and a consultant to develop a strategic plan for the next three to five years. The plan will be full of resolutions.

New ventures
You might be surprised to know that Willy Street Co-op is approached almost daily to participate in new ventures. Entrepreneurs, landlords, realtors, etc. are eager to bring the magic of the Co-op to their projects. The Board’s job is to speak for you and all the other Owners. We provide the staff guiding principles that they can use to vet these exciting opportunities. Past examples of this kind of collaboration include the opening of our Production Kitchen, Willy West, and our current remodel of Willy East.

Willy east remodel
The remodel of Willy East is hopefully going smoothly and will ultimately lead to a better experience for you. The remodel is the last step in the Co-op’s current strategic plan. Willy East has been at its current location since 2000. The previous much smaller location was across the street in what is now the Social Justice Center. At the time of the move, the new location seemed so large. Our fantastic Owners showed us that with a bigger and better store they would buy more and tell their friends. Did you know we are one of the largest grocery cooperatives in the United States? Quicker than anyone anticipated, Willy East was feeling a little cramped and worn.

Looking forward
In 2014, we want to be thankful for our past success. We also need to think about how we can best benefit our Owners in the near and more distant future. We want to progressively dream the future of healthy local sustainable food. So before Willy West is feeling cramped or worn, we need to think and plan ahead.

Thinking strategically forward is a challenge. Your Board of Directors will work hard to thoroughly discuss with you how to shape Willy Street Co-op into the best resource. The value of growth and what it could like will be discussed. We know many Owners are leery of growth. Other Owners plead with us to open a location closer to them so that local, healthy sustainable food is more accessible. Owners are the number one focus. We will also discuss how to make our Ownership more inclusive. How we can make healthy food choices more available to those in food deserts or with smaller food budgets. We will have challenging conversations. I resolve that they will be worth it!

Strategic plan & road map
You will read and hear more about this process in the coming months. Our goal is to have a strategic plan and road map for implementation for the Annual Meeting and Party in July. This will bring us yet another to reason to celebrate with delicious sustainable food.

We welcome feedback. Email your Board at board@willystreet.coop all-board@willystreet.coop (includes the General Manager and Executive Assistant).

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