How exciting: a new store! In Middleton! Wait, Middleton? I’ll admit, as an “eastsider” who has never lived outside the Isthmus and saves up weeks of errands before venturing out onto the Beltline, I wasn’t very familiar with Middleton. Although I recognized the dream of having the Co-op in my own backyard was probably unlikely; perhaps like many of you, I had assumed it would be somewhere downtown. But as more and more information and research pointed to this westside location as the best opportunity, meeting the most Owner-generated criteria, I started getting excited too.

In my capacity as a Board member, I’ve had the opportunity to attend several New Store Information Sessions and was lucky enough to speak to and receive emails from many thrilled Owners and Middleton residents. One woman related a story: her dear neighbor was so excited upon hearing the news that she ran right out of the house searching for someone, anyone, to tell. That’s when it really started to hit me; we’re not just opening a second store, we’re sharing an amazing resource. Certainly we’re furthering our mission to “provide fairly priced goods and services while supporting local and organic suppliers.” We’re increasing our market share in order to remain competitive for our Owners. We’ll be creating nearly 100 new fair-wage jobs. We’re helping “infill” and to revitalize a vacant retail site that’s both bike-accessible and walkable from surrounding neighborhoods that truly want us. But what’s really got the butterflies fluttering is that we’re taking this wonderful, 30+ year, successful experiment in localism and health and fairness and activism to another part of our community. Whether you’re prone to wax philosophical, like myself, or are just pumped about all the new parking spaces, it’s an exciting time to be involved with the Co-op. And there are lots of ways to be involved.

Keep an eye out in the Reader and on our website for Willy West events and Ownership Drive opportunities, consider hosting an informational house party, or suggest westside projects and organizations you’d like to see the Co-op partnering with. (Not surprisingly, we’ve already begun doing just that; recently donating funds for the Bock Community Garden’s irrigation system!) Help support expansion efforts financially by purchasing Owner Bonds or paying your membership in full. Participate in our upcoming Strategic Planning process. And consider running for the Board of Directors.

If you’re interested in helping guide Willy Street Co-op’s future, now is the perfect time. There will be three Board seats up for election in August. It’s a critical time for the Co-op, whose continued well-being depends upon a supportive Ownership, knowledgeable staff and committed Board of Directors, providing guidance for the organization. We’re looking for Owners with a diversity of experience, representing our diverse community, with good communication and group decision-making skills. Background in one or more of the following areas is especially helpful:

  • Leadership
  • Planning
  • Meeting facilitation
  • Personnel management
  • Cooperative movement and philosophy
  • Contract negotiation
  • Business—retail or wholesale
  • Finance—budget analysis
  • Grocery industry
  • Marketing
  • Law
  • Natural foods and nutrition
  • Service on other boards
Interested parties are highly encouraged to attend a Board meeting for a first hand view of our process. Board meetings are generally held the third Tuesday of the month at 6:00pm with upcoming meetings scheduled for May 18th and June 15th. The final date for submitting your nomination is Thursday, July 8th, followed by candidate introductions at the Annual Meeting & Party. For a nomination packet or more information, please contact the Board at or call Board Executive Assistant Stephanie Ricketts at 251-0884.


  • March was a very exciting month for the Co-op and Board of Directors!
  • At the regularly scheduled March meeting, Board members approved the second retail site budget. At a second special meeting called by the Board President, the Board signed the lease for Willy West, located at 6825 University Ave. in Middleton!
  • The group also discussed Committee member recruitment processes and approved a revision to Policy D4 having to do with Executive Sessions minute release.
  • An Expansion policy was discussed and expansion monitoring reports were assigned.
  • Board representatives and Finance Committee volunteers were appointed to the annual Audit Committee.


  • At the May meeting, the Board will review and approve the agenda for the Annual Meeting & Party.
  • The Board will work with the Nominations Committee on specifics relating to the 2010 Board Election.
  • Expansion reports will be reviewed.


  • The Board’s one standing committee, the Finance Committee, reviews monthly financial reports at each of its meetings.
  • The Nominations Committee has once again been formed and continues working on the content and processes for August’s elections.
  • The Patronage Refund and Non-Owner Surcharge Committee is considering input provided by Owners and non-Owners during the comment period and drawing closer to a final decision.
  • The Strategic Planning Committee will work with the Board on further developing a greater Willy Street Co-op vision for the future—look for opportunities for input!


  • The Board of Directors will be engaging in educational sessions from 6:00-6:45pm, immediately prior to the Board meeting. This month’s Educational Session is on Data Driven Results. All Owners are welcome and encouraged to attend! Be sure to check out the Owner Forum as well, from 5:30-6:00pm, outside in the courtyard. Snacks are provided!

Remember, you can always catch play-by-play Board minutes at: