Spring has sprung at long last! As I listen to the birds chirping outside my window, a line from Mary Oliver’s “Such Singing in the Wild Branches” comes to mind.

It was spring
and finally I heard him
among the first leaves—
then I saw him clutching the limb

in an island of shade
with his red-brown feathers
all trim and neat for the new year.

I am relieved that the long winter has passed, as I’m sure we all are! The influx of new energy that spring brings is especially welcome with all of the projects that we have going on here at the Willy Street Co-op.

Willy East Remodel
As you all know, construction is in full force at Willy East. Center store work is the most disruptive for you, our Owners. Thank you for your patience as we keep moving forward! We plan on finishing construction on the center store sections by the end of May. If you haven’t checked out Willy West, this may be the perfect time to do so! The friendly staff in Middleton are ready to meet any of your needs.

Centralized Office
We have a signed lease for a centralized office space located at 1457 East Washington Ave. This month will be a flurry of preparations to make the space ready for occupancy by our target move-in date of May 1st. A variety of administrative teams will move to the central office from our three current locations, resulting in greater synergies and efficiencies for those teams and the Co-op as a whole.

Third Store Task Force
The Board received a recommendation from the Third Store Criteria Task Force, and is expected to make a decision about whether or not to accept the recommendation at this month’s meeting. Stay tuned for more information moving forward.

Strategic Direction from the Board
The Willy Street Co-op Board of Directors held a strategic direction setting retreat in the middle of March. The four key areas the Board would like the organization to focus on are: engagement/participation, strategic growth, sustainability, and leadership/innovation. I will take these priorities and work on drafting a strategic plan for the next three-to-five years. You’ll be hearing a lot more about these in the weeks and months to come, including at the Annual Meeting & Party on July 10th.

Patronage Refunds
Remember to use your patronage refund before the June 15th deadline! Owners are welcome to donate their patronage to CHIP or Food Co-op Initiative (FCI) at the register… or use it to pick up a little treat for yourself!  By law, if your credit isn’t used by June 15th, 2014, the Co-op must record the amount of your store credit and retained patronage equity as income and pay the necessary taxes on that amount and your refund is officially forfeited.

Northside Animal HospitalWine and Hop ShopLonesome Stone MillingDebra A. StroikSave TreesTenney Nursery & Parent CenterOut U Go!