If you have ever CHIPed at our registers, stand up and give yourself a round of applause. In October, Community Shares of Wisconsin (CHIP organization) honored the contributions of our Owners in a ceremony held at Monona Terrace. Last year’s milestone of $100,000 collected from Willy Street Co-op Owners set a record for this fund, and we are looking forward to watching more organizations benefit with the opening of Willy West. Willy Street Co-op, East and West, are still the only retail locations in Dane County that ask, “Would you like to CHIP?”
It is our hope that by the second week of November we will open our doors in Middleton, starting a new and exciting chapter for our Cooperative. Look for our Grand Opening in January, when the construction and holiday dust have settled. I would like to thank Mike Byrne, Willy West Store Manager, for coming onto the team and jumping in with both feet to prepare this store for success.
As a result of opening Willy West, we have hired 90 new staff between both stores—there are bound to be some new faces in both stores, and if you are shopping at Willy West, you will see familiar faces, as we have promoted and hired tenured staff from Willy East into new positions at Willy West.
As we stated in a letter to area residents on August 2nd, 2010 and consistently throughout discussions, we will be installing a driveway onto Jenifer Street from the west side of our parking lot. In 1999, when the Co-op relocated to 1221 Williamson Street, the two existing driveways onto Jenifer Street were eliminated because neither was needed in the redesign of the property. Ten years later, our Owners and sales have nearly quintupled; the number of this community’s residents has also ballooned along with the enormous demand for organic foods nationwide. As early as eight years ago, our Board of Directors and management saw this was coming and began to seek a second location to take the stress off the Williamson Street store. Finally, this month we have opened a second retail store—and we are expecting to seek more solutions to address our growth.
The driveway conversation has attracted neighborhood Owners and residents for and against the outcome, but the larger community of our Owners may not be aware of the tension created by this action to improve traffic flow within the existing lot and decrease the number of crashes at the Williamson Street driveway by redirecting westbound traffic out the Jenifer Street side of the property.
The Co-op is moving ahead to support the short-term goal of improving safety for cars, pedestrians, and bikes entering and exiting from Williamson Street, but our long-term goal will always be to reduce the amount of carbon emission through the promotion and practice of sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, and local commerce. Additionally, more safety precautions are planned around the new Jenifer Street driveway to slow car and bike traffic, stop car traffic before crossing the sidewalk, and warn pedestrians before entering the driveway. The driveway will be closed to car traffic until a final decision has been made by staff defining operational use of the driveway. We will continue to take feedback on the use of the driveway. Please send your comments to .
Not everyone working on this project with us was in favor of the plan to install a driveway—we respectfully thank those on the driveway ad hoc committee who gave their time to discuss criteria for the driveway’s long-term use.