If you shopped during the month of April and were not a paid-in-full owner, chances are your cashier asked you if you wanted to participate in our Equity Drive. At the beginning of February we had a Front End meeting to discuss ways to become more efficient and positively impact the finances of the Co-op while we waited for the delay of the downtown store to be resolved. After that meeting, a few cashiers came up with the idea of having an equity drive, much like other co-ops have a membership drive. This isn’t the first time the Willy Street Co-op has had an Equity Drive, as it was also done in conjunction with the opening of the current store location. It was great that this idea came from the cashiering staff, none of whom were a part of that previous drive.

With some help from our IT and Communications departments, we launched the drive on April 1st not really knowing what to expect. The idea was simple: cashiers would ask owners who were not yet paid-in-full if they would like to pay off their balance. So far the question has been met with resounding support for the Co-op! Many owners have paid off their equity and still others have made extra equity payments. In April of 2007, the Co-op took in about $7,700 in equity from owners, new and old. In the first four days of April 2008, we surpassed that amount by taking in over $8,500. Even more than the money, we found that we were opening up dialogue with owners about their equity and this gave us the chance to further educate them about their yearly payments. Some owners did not know that they have the option to pay more than the minimum yearly payment. Other owners did not understand that their yearly payments would end once they paid for their full share and were not an ongoing payment that would continue as long as they were members. This gave us insight as to how we can do a better job talking about ownership and equity in the future.

All around this has been a positive experience! It would not have happened if not for the initiative of the cashiers to conceive of the idea and enthusiastically get behind it and make it a success. By the time this newsletter is published, the drive will be over. However we encourage owners who did not have the opportunity to pay their equity in full during this equity drive, but who would like to become paid-in-full, to speak to their cashier or stop at Customer Service. We can take equity payments at any time and for any amount up to the cost of your fair share, either $56 for individuals or $91 for households.

How to support the Co-op

During this drive, we have also had many questions from paid-in-full owners as to what they can do to support the Co-op. There is no way currently to purchase additional equity, but there are other things they can do to make a positive contribution.

  • Shop at the Co-op as much as possible and take advantage other Co-op services like our Catering and Co-Shop programs (information is available at Customer Service, online at www.willystreet.coop or call 251-6776).
  • Tell friends, family and co-workers about the Co-op and our services
  • Buy gift cards for gifts
  • Participate in the Co-op! Keep informing us of what you’d like to see and making suggestions as to how we can improve.

Thank you to everyone who participated for making this drive a success! As we go to press, the total equity taken in for April is $22,803.50. There will be signs in the store with the grand total for our Equity Drive in the beginning of May!

Catering

The Co-op’s Catering program is getting a new face as orders can now be placed at the Customer Service desk. There is a new brochure and price list with a variety of options that are all guaranteed to be prepared with 48 hours notice. We can help you order coffee and bagels for a morning business meeting, a variety of platters for your next big party, or a full dinner with desserts for a big event. You can check the website for more information or call or stop by the Customer Service desk.

Staffing

Those of you who shop here frequently may have noticed that the faces of the staff are becoming more familiar. After a six-month period of intense turnover during the middle of last year, we have finally established a solid, well-trained staff and have not had to hire any new staff in over four months. I am so proud of this staff and have appreciated the feedback from customers as to how we can continue to improve the service we provide!