Your Co-op is growing fast! In the last two years, the Willy Street Co-op has grown to over 29,000 Owners, ~$35 million in annual sales, 290 staff, and $900,000 in local produce purchases. This growth is a result of the success we have experienced opening Willy West, as well as the continued success at Willy East.
As many of you likely remember, in 2004 the Board approved a three-fold expansion plan that included opening a second retail storefront, remodeling 1221, and opening a production facility (though not necessarily in that order). We have now accomplished two of the three Board directives: in 2006 we opened our Production Kitchen at 1882 E. Main Street, and in November of 2010 the doors opened at 6825 University Ave. Now the time has come for us to turn our attention back to the storefront at 1221 Williamson St. It is time for us to focus on a Willy East remodel.
Our Bylaws state in section 6.4, “Any decision to buy or sell the Co-op’s buildings(s) or to spend over ten percent of the Co-op’s total equity on an expansion project must be approved by the Owners.” Some may debate if a “remodel” falls under this umbrella (is it technically an “expansion”?) but we feel securing Owner approval for this work is the right thing to do. Accordingly, we are asking for you to vote in favor of an expenditure of funds for this project.
Our total equity is $4,100,000; 10% of that amount is $410,000. A remodel of Willy East is anticipated to cost more than that amount, but less than $2 million. We are asking Owners to approve an expenditure of up to $2,000,000, spent over the next two fiscal years, for this work.
The remodel will include re-merchandising internal departments, redesign of the loading dock and receiving area, and floor replacement, among other exciting improvements. The project is expected to span two fiscal years FY13 and FY14. The work done in FY13 (the current fiscal year) will be design and plan development, as well as prepayment for equipment and services.
There are many exciting possibilities that come with a remodel project here on our home street. We will keep the ownership abreast of plans as they are developed, and look forward to enjoying this retail space for many years to come.
Vote for the Board and Owner Referendums!
This issue of the Reader is cram packed... with 13 candidate statements! Thirteen Owners are running for the Board of Directors to fill 4 open seats (3 three-year terms and 1 one-year term due to the early departure of a Board member). You are also being asked to vote on two Owner questions—one is a request for approval of the expenditure of funds to remodel Willy East, and the other is a request to approve a Bylaw change regarding patronage. The Special Membership Meeting when results will be announced is scheduled for 6:30pm on August 21st, at Willy West, 6825 University Ave, Middleton.
You can read the candidate statements and explanation of the two Owner questions in this issue of the Reader; mail or hand-deliver your paper ballot to either Co-op location. Paper ballots can be cast up until last call Tuesday, August 21st, at 6:00pm.
All Owners that have provided us with an email address will automatically receive an email inviting you to vote online. If you have not provided an email address, but wish to vote online, we need that information before the end of the day Thursday, August 16th. Online voting closes at 11:59pm on Sunday, August 19th.
Middleton Good Neighbor Festival Parade
The Co-op is asking Owners to march with a small group of staff in the Middleton Good Neighbor Festival Parade. The Parade is scheduled to begin at noon Sunday, August 26th. See ad on page 25 for details. All parade marchers will receive a ticket redeemable for one Willy West brat (or veggie brat) served in front of Willy West that day.