As I’m beginning to write the Co-op’s 2011 Green Policy report, my first inclination is to request that we change the name of that policy. At the time the policy was written it was relevant, but now sustainability is more than just how much cardboard gets recycled in a year or how much wind power we underwrite. But colors fade and we, as an organization, have evolved into approaching sustainability with a holistic, zero-impact approach as directed by the Board.
After calling for self-nominations to the Sustainability Committee earlier in the year, this new group of Owners and staff assembled for the first time in April to establish our connections and begin our work. It’s encouraging to know that our status already supports our ability to carry out a long list of sustainable business practices, but where else we go is the committee’s charter. I felt it was a great group of people at the table and I’m looking forward to working on this very long agenda.
Spring, the season of new beginnings, is also the start of the construction season in Wisconsin. I’m already looking forward to fall! Williamson Street reconstruction is expected to be completed in October and as I write this, entire sections of pavement have already been removed and work is well underway. The Jenifer Street driveway has already been effective in reducing congestion in the lot due to the construction and we have been supporting more bike traffic, offering free Burley bike trailer rentals and scheduling additional staff to assist shoppers to their vehicles parked nearby. Or, if you’d like to bike or walk (from the 53703 or 53704 zip code) to the store and pick out your groceries before 5:00pm, our Co-Shop staff is ready to deliver them, free of charge.
I’m confident that our staff has worked hard to develop a plan for all Owners in order to continue serving them during the construction. Willy West has seen an increase in sales, signaling that our plan to provide an option during this time is beginning to gel.
We’re still busy developing the budget for fiscal year 2012 and beginning to plan for the Annual Meeting and Party (July 7th).
With all that’s been happening in the city, the state and the nation, sometimes it’s hard to remember that we’re here to sell groceries, but it would be shortsighted of us if we didn’t acknowledge that our Owners have entrusted us with so much more—sustainability, fair wages, education, and this community-owned asset. Our success as grocery retailers allows us to be a large supporter of our greater community events and neighborhood festivals (listed below, along with other significant dates) and in doing so, serves to remind me that we’re so much more than just a grocery store.
- Gallery Night: May 6th
- Taste of Willy Street: May 10th
- Memorial Day, May 30th: Closing early at 7:30pm
- Waterfront Opener: June 10th
- Waterfront Festival: June 11th-12th
- La Fete de Marquette: July 7th-10th
- Atwood Community Festival: July 30th
- Orton Park Festival: August 25th-28th
- Willy Street Fair: September 17th-18th