In the early days of May we reached our $1 million limit on Bond sales, and took a long, deep breath. Our Finance Committee approved a package that limited funding sources to cash, Owner participation (Bonds), and credit union financing, with each contributing about one-third of the total budget. After conservatively estimating we would reach our goal of $600,000 in 60 days, we reached our $1 million limit in just 39 days! I would like to again sincerely thank the many Owners who pitched in to support this project by buying a Bond.

Now with financing in place, our next steps are to finalize the equipment list and site plans for our portion of the build-out. Looking at the organizational structure of the Cooperative, we now need to shift to the multiple store format as previously designed by the Staff Structure Committee; some titles will be changing, but most of the faces will be the same. Each retail store will have a Store Manager on-site, responsible for that store’s operation—those positions are planned to be filled in the coming month in order for Willy West to begin the interviewing, hiring, and training process for department managers and support staff.

Stay tuned to our progress; the website will soon include a project update blog from our Project Manager, and information about upcoming Willy West-related events. Additional information will also be posted in the Owner Resources Area inside the entrance of the current store to keep Owners up-to-date on the store’s progress.

It is a bit overwhelming to think about the work that is going into the opening of Willy West, but I would be remiss if I did not mention the outstanding work that is being done day in and day out at the current store. The Co-op continues to blow away previous sales records while continuing to provide the quality of goods and services you have grown to expect from your Co-op. My sincere gratitude for everyone’s commitment and cooperation.

Save the date for the Annual Meeting & Party, July 8th, at the site of La Fete de Marquette (corner of S. Dickinson & E. Main)!

Taste of Willy Street

The Greater Williamson Area Business Association’s (GWABA) annual fundraiser was a huge success... a sell out!
I would like to personally thank the vendors that participated in the event: Bahn Thai • Bandung Indonesian Restaurant • Batch Bakehouse • Brass Ring • Burrito Drive • Corner Store • Eldorado Grill • Ground Zero • Ha Long Bay • Jamerica • Lao Laan-Xang • Lazy Jane’s Café and Bakery • LaRocca’s • Madison Sourdough • Mickey’s • Mother Fool’s Coffee House • Nature’s Bakery Cooperative • Roman Candle • Star Liquor • Weary Traveler Free House • Willy Street Pub and Grill • Willy Street Co-op.

I would also like to thank the volunteers that worked the event—from set up to tear down, many hands make light work and all hands were on deck.

The 2010 Eastside Farmers’ Market opening (on Tuesday May 8th) shared the stage with the Taste of Willy Street at the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center. Kudos again to Gary Kallas, Executive Director of Wil-Mar, for taking on the management of the Eastside Farmers’ Market and for his skills in logistical planning and implementation. The Co-op would like to acknowledge we feel confident in Wil-Mar’s ability to continue to sustain the market, and to be a resource for our community, and area farmers.