Your Board has a problem, and we need your help. During a series of recent Board meetings ( we’ve discussed the benefits of creating a long-term strategic plan for your Co-op. The Board feels a disciplined approach to planning for the future would be a beneficial exercise as we encounter more competition, changing consumer behaviors, growth/expansion opportunities and technological change. The General Manager and staff also think strategic planning would be a useful exercise as its output would provide guidance to the management team on how to plan operations for the future. Additionally, your Board recently created an ad-hoc strategic planning committee to examine the most effective way forward for this process.

However, during all of our discussions we’ve struggled with one thing: how to effectively engage as many Owners in the long-term planning process as possible. The Board and staff have mechanisms to collect and understand your current wants and needs through annual surveys, member feedback forms and face-to-face interactions which occur every day at your Co-op; however, what we don’t have is a mechanism to understand where you want to take your Co-op in the future.

So, here’s where we need your help. Send your Board an email atand help us with two questions:

  • First: How can the Board most effectively engage with you and other Owners during the long-term planning process (e.g. a series of focus groups, traditional surveys, social media, etc.)?
  • Second: how would you define “the Willy Street Co-op difference” today?
  • Third: what should “the Willy Street Co-op difference” be five years from now?

Your Board appreciates this feedback in advance of beginning the long-term strategic planning process.

October meeting

  • First Board education session of the year! The topic was on Owner Relations.
  • Structure review of its current committees. David Grace appointed to the Finance Committee  and Owners-at-large Fae Dremock and Ankur Malhotra to the Patronage Refund and Non-Owner Surcharge Committee.
  • Community Reinvestment Fund set at $14,000 for 2010.
  • Executive session discussion and possible release of executive session minutes.
  • Fair Share Reimbursement was approved, and strategic planning was also discussed.

December meeting

  • Review of a variety of reports, and also set the February retreat agenda.

Ongoing projects

  • The Finance Committee reviews monthly financial reports.
  • The Patronage Refund and Non-Owner Surcharge Committee continues to look into the advantages and disadvantages of the non-Owner surcharge.
  • Expansion opportunities in the greater Madison area continue to be explored.
  • A Strategic Planning Committee has been formed, to delve into long-range planning for the Co-op.

Educational Sessions

  • The Board will be engaging in educational sessions from 6:00-6:45pm immediately prior to the Board meeting. The topic for December is: Accounting and Financial Information. All Owners are welcome to attend!