Willy East news
The Co-op is installing a driveway at the Jenifer Street side of the property to support business during Williamson Street reconstruction slated to begin spring 2011—beyond that time frame no final decisions have been made for use of the driveway.
In late August, the Co-op formed a driveway ad hoc committee made up of concerned individuals (who represent the interests of the neighboring businesses, residents, the City of Madison and Owners) to evaluate the long-term impacts and management of the Jenifer Street driveway. The committee structure is based on roles each member plays in the community, included are Marsha Rummel (Alder), Scott Thornton (MNA Board president), Lindsey Lee (GWABA representative), Carla Mason (Jenifer Street resident), Jennie Mauer (Jenifer Street resident), Wynston Estis (Co-op Operations Manager), and Lynn Olson (Co-op Owner representative).

The Co-op has established driveway@willystreet.coop for you to submit comments; the process is open to everyone. Our perspective is detailed on our site. Out of deference to the variety of perspectives, we encourage you to read the comments. Post what you think—we want to know.

Surcharge AKA non-member mark-up
In September 2008 I recommended the creation of the Patronage Refund & Non Member Mark-Up ad hoc committee, and the Board approved. While technically decisions regarding Owner benefits are within the realm of management, I acknowledged in recommending the creation of this committee that management will act in accordance with the Board’s advice to maintain or eliminate the surcharge.

Currently non-Owners pay 10% above shelf price—and after three years of work and hearing from hundreds of Owners on the matter, the committee proposed to the Board that the Co-op reduce the non-Owner surcharge from 10% to 5%. The Board accepted the recommendation, and this change will go into effect January 3rd, 2011.
Before that date, we will suspend the surcharge at both stores as of the the opening of Willy West. This is expected to achieve a smoother transition into a new community and will serve as an education period to inform shoppers about the benefits of becoming an Owner.

With the new POS (register) software, cashiers are now required to ask shoppers for their Owner number at the beginning of the transaction. This simple change has begun to reduce the number of negative reactions stemming from non-Owner purchases by allowing cashiers to explain the surcharge and/or becoming an Owner before ringing through their purchases.

Willy West update
Things are really beginning to happen at the Middleton location. I encourage you to check out our Project Manager’s blog if you are interested in the progress of Willy West. You can log onto www.willystreet.coop/blog/phil_ward for updates and information.

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