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Budget Planning; Bag Credit; Access Discount; & More!

“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”
~Margaret Atwood

Who knew in mid-February we could be outside in shirtsleeves and flip-flops doing yard work and grilling? Whether spring arrived early this year or not, officially the 2017 spring equinox in the northern hemisphere is celebrated on March 20th. Reminder: Daylight savings time goes into effect Sunday, March 12th… spring forward! 

There are so many things going on at your Co-op; where should I start!? 

First of all, thank you to those of you who have shared with me your ideas for “minding your own business.” Since my ask that was included in last month’s Reader, I have made several new connections with people that might lead to savings for the Co-op, or redirection of money back into our community by using local vendors and service providers. Nice! 

Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program is off to a great start 

As reported last month, the Fruit & Vegetable Prescription Program is an exciting pilot program launched in February to make it easier for food-insecure patients of UW Health Northeast Family Medical Center to add more fruit and vegetables to their diet. In just the first few weeks of the pilot, the program has been expanded to serve now 185 patients from the initial 150.

March Madness Cheese Challenge 

We have put a tasty spin on the traditional NCAA basketball tournament known as March Madness. Our version is 32 local Wisconsin cheeses (not basketball teams) vying for the top-seeded position; from March 16th–April 2nd you can vote for your favorite local Wisconsin cheese. Go Wisconsin! Fill out the bracket on page 16 and drop it off in the store. The person who submits the bracket that most closely matches the results will win eight pounds of cheese!

Fiscal Year 2018 Budget Planning 

Just two weeks after closing the second quarter financials, our budget planning for next fiscal year is underway. Our fiscal year runs July through June. It used to be that we could prepare a draft budget in a single day; we projected a 10% sales increase, adjusted expenses accordingly, and that was it. Those days are long since past. Now we take several months to prepare a budget that takes into account current performance, industry trends, competition, and rising costs related to personnel. Despite our sales not quite hitting budget this fiscal year, we have managed expenses extremely well. You can expect that we will continue to follow this trend into the future, and we’ll have positive things to report at the annual business meeting in July. 

On a positive note, to those Owners who purchased a seven-year bond to fund the opening of Willy West, thank you! I am pleased to report that our cash position is solid and you will be receiving your original bond amount plus interest in April. This marks the third and final round of payments toOwners for the $1 million raised to fund the project to open Willy West. 

Access Discount annual renewal

This is happening in March. If you are a participant in this program, please just check in at the Customer Service desk to renew your access. 

Bag Credit program changing starting April 3rd

See page 9 for our new program details. 

Special store hours March 19th 

The staff annual party is scheduled for Sunday, March 19th; the retails will be closing early at 7:00pm! Plan ahead.

Annual Customer Survey coming in May 

This year’s survey will be included in the May Reader and can be returned via US Mail or deposited at the retails. The survey can also be completed online via our website. 

Annual Board Elections

It’s not too soon to think about running for the Board. This year there are four seats to that need to be filled; three three-year seats and a one-year seat (due to a Board member resignation). Candidate statements are due in June. Elections are held the first three weeks of July; candidates are invited to address the membership at the Annual Meeting & Party (AMP) on July 13th, as part of the business meeting. Owners are invited to cast a ballot as well at the AMP.  Look for more details in the Reader or on our website next month. 

Willy North outdoor seating

In closing, we will break ground on the outdoor seating area at Willy North as weather permits. And, soon you will be able to find all your gardening supplies for sale at the retails. Get ready to smell the dirt!