In May, I expect we’ll be finalizing the original Downtown store project details and getting back to the heart of our business as retail grocers. A major focus of the work facing the General Manager’s Team (GM Team) and the Board is to establish efficiencies in our operations and on the Board level. The staff structure has now returned to that of a one-store format, similar to the structure we had a year ago, with two assistant store managers responsible for operational and product management. At this time I can report that we are in a position to achieve the Board’s directive to achieve positive income by the end of the fiscal year. This would not have been possible were it not for those staff who accepted our offer for voluntary reductions in force and salary reductions reflecting our structure in a one-store format. Due to these voluntary reductions, no one had to be laid off, which is a huge relief to me and all of the staff.

Work by the GM team

As reported last month, I’ll repeat it again to be certain everyone is informed—our Annual Membership Meeting is Thursday, July 10th and will be moving to a new location just a block away in Central Park. The Fête de Marquette tent and stage will be set up and ready to go, so we’re taking advantage of this opportunity to take stress off our organization (facility and personnel) while creating a mutually beneficial collaboration with the planners of the Fête.

Budget planning

Work is now being carried out to plan fiscal year 2009’s budget.

Director of Finance, David Waisman, is meeting with the Co-op’s managers to develop budgets with a conservative approach in light of our need to manage the wind-down of expenses associated with the Metropolitan Place II project along with sales projections and our commitment to maintaining the high level of customer service and programs to support our community.

NEW catering program

In order to take full advantage of the assets we already have, Josh Perkins Kitchen Manager and Brendon Smith, Communications Manager, have reenergized the catering program and promotions. Menus and order information are available on our website, and systems have been implemented to support a fair amount of growth in this category.

Second site update

Metropolitan Place II (MPII) is still an unknown entity at this time. The property has been taken over by a court-appointed receiver and he has been in contact with us to discuss future options. I don’t have any details now, but will report any as they become available. Meanwhile, the Opportunities Committee is still meeting and exploring potential sites or other areas for growth.

Please check our website (www.willystreet.coop) or the Information Station in the store for the most up-to-date information. And feel free to contact me with questions or concerns:or 251-6776 x470.

Taste of Willy Street

The seventh annual Taste of Willy Street fundraiser on Madison’s near east side will be held on Tuesday, May 6th. This lively and delicious culinary event is sponsored by the Greater Williamson Area Business Association (GWABA) and will be held at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood located at 953 Jenifer Street.

The event will include two seating times: 5:30pm and 6:45pm. Tickets in advance are $12 adults/$6 children under 12; day of event $15/$7. Tickets can be purchased at Star Liquor and Willy Street Co-op.