Although we had planned to open mid-March, we will be unable to achieve that goal. Construction has been temporarily stopped—not due to reasons within our control, but due to reasons out of our control. As I learn more about the reasons and the impact this will have on the timeline, it will be reported to you on the Co-op’s website and at our in-house kiosk. I remain hopeful this delay will last only a few weeks, and that the opening will be within the second quarter of 2008.

While the exact timing of the opening is yet unknown, I can report that the management team and staff continue to increase our internal capacity and talent to support the anticipated growth of the organization. I am happy to report that of the six department managers that have been hired to fill open positions, five were recruited from within the organization. These manager hires have in turn vacated other positions that will also need to be filled—we will first be looking for qualified internal candidates to fill these new openings. Additionally, to assist these new hires in meeting their new job responsibilities, a twelve-week comprehensive training program has been designed to support their personal development.

Parking for the downtown retail

A Co-op member recently called and asked about parking at the downtown site. The Co-op has negotiated with the developer of Metropolitan Place II (MPII) for 50 stalls dedicated to the Co-op retail; these are stalls exclusively for use by Co-op patrons and staff. There are an additional 30 stalls available in the parking garage for use by patrons of the whole MPII retail development. Residential parking for MPII is separate from the commercial parking.

The parking garage can be found by car a few different ways—a right turn off Broom Street half a block from W. Washington Ave (reminder: Broom Street is one-way) may be the most direct route. Another parking garage entrance is located off Mifflin Street—either half a block east of Broom Street or half a block west of N. Henry Street.

There is also metered street parking available along Broom and Mifflin Streets. The eastside location has 42 dedicated parking stalls, with 11 stalls for staff located across Williamson Street. The downtown retail has two entrances into the building—one directly off the driveway into the parking garage and the other facing the intersection of Mifflin and Broom Streets.

Meat department

The downtown retail will house a full-service meat department managed by the Co-op. The Co-op was in negotiations with a local meat company discussing the potential management of the downtown facility. However, we were unable to come to an agreement and have parted ways amicably. This company may prove to be a wholesale supplier for the Co-op. The Co-op will be running our own meat counter, as well as producing product for the Eastside store and the Production Kitchen.

Bylaws revision

The final proposed bylaws are ready for your review! In March you can expect to see, as part of the Reader, the culmination of three plus years of work that has gone into the review and updating of the document—the issue will include the current bylaw language, proposed bylaw language, a ballot, and a postage paid return envelope. The ballots will be counted at a special meeting of the membership—date to be announced.

Flood relief

The Co-op has raised over $8,300 so far for flood relief. Half of this amount has gone to the Kickapoo Co-op and the other half to the Sow the Seeds Fund. In 2007, the Sow the Seeds Fund (to which many co-ops and individuals donated) was able to raise and distribute over $385,000 for flood relief providing quick help to more than 30 farms that applied to the fund.