This year brings much anticipated change to the Cooperative—from the opening of Willy West to the reduction of the surcharge (non-Owner mark-up), to our first issuance of patronage from profit gained in FY2010. We are now realizing the full effect of the benefits of the cooperative model. Let me explain. The Board of Directors made a decision at the end of FY2010 to approve refunding Owner’s patronage. This is the first time we have been able to offer this unique Owner benefit in our 36 years—it is my sincere intention that we continue along this road of financial success for years to come. By returning profit back to Owners at the end of each fiscal year, the Co-op not only rewards Owners in proportion to the amount they spend at our stores, but the Co-op also pays fewer taxes on profits, and those retained earnings will be invested in this community. Congratulations and thank you for your support no matter how long you have been an Owner; you have each made a conscious decision to support our way of doing business.
Come out of the cold and warm yourself at the Willy West Store Warming Event, January 14th –16th.
If you haven’t been into Willy West since the opening week, we now have a fully stocked bulk aisle as well as some empty bins waiting to be filled by your recommendations. In the first month and half we are nearly done tweaking systems to best suit that location, and staff there have learned the ropes of the new space. If you have never been to Willy West allow me to invite you to see the store you helped build.
The same year we introduced patronage refunds to Owners, we reduced the 10% non-Owner surcharge to 5%. This decrease will be put into effect this month after having suspended the surcharge entirely since the opening of Willy West. After hearing from Owners who were split on whether to eliminate or retain the surcharge, the committee finally recommended a 50/50 split, hence the 5% amount.
Setting up shop in a new community has allowed us to meet new people, become acquainted with new businesses and a new city’s administration. Each of these entities has brought new opportunities to serve or partner with in the future. Special thanks and recognition to Electronic Theater Controls, our Parkwood Plaza neighbors, Middleton Chamber of Commerce, Middleton City staff and elected officials, and the Middleton Sustainability Committee for all laying out the proverbial red carpet and making us feel at home in our new store.
Unofficial early reports from the staff on the retail floor at Willy East is that they feel a 40% decrease in traffic in the store when in fact it is about 10% decrease according to sales reporting. If you are now only shopping at Willy West we appreciate your loyalty to the new space and reducing congestion in our parking lot and Williamson Street neighborhood.