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Project Updates; In Memoriam; and More


Merry December, one and all! One of the many things I appreciate about December is what a fun month it is to share delicious treats and the kindness of humanity. The season of so many celebrations, we’re always pleased and honored to be a part of your food traditions. As always, I’m looking forward to seeing as many of you as possible over the coming weeks as I spend more time in the retails doing what I love—bagging groceries and being helpful.

Things to celebrate here at your Co-op 

•Willy North reached their first $200K week in sales in October.

•We raised $44K in equity in October.

•Ownership continues to grow steadily. 

•Road construction season is OVER!

•Willy North patio is done!

Updates to ongoing projects 

•The Willy North Juice Bar project has been delayed until after December, in order to keep the floor less congested during our busiest time of the year.

•The Willy West remodel has us closing in on the scope of work and budgeting. We’ve gone through several proposed floor concepts to take into account optimal flow of customers and goods, optimizing aisle width, and introduction of new services. Look for more information about these developments in January 2018.

•Owners, you can expect to see your Annual Report delivered before the end of the calendar year.

Afterthoughts from the Willy East Beer & Wine Application

As you may have heard, Willy Street Co-op was awarded a license to sell beer, wine and cider at the Common Council meeting on October 31st. A small display has been added on the retail floor at East. 

Throughout the conversation around the license to sell beer and wine at Willy East, I was inspired to provide more opportunities and accessibility to Owners to communicate with me directly. Despite always having had an open-door policy, I’m now scheduling time on Mondays at 6:30pm to be available for face-to-face conversations with Owners and other concerned members of the community. The first such open-door session will be held at Willy East on December 18th, in the Community Room; January 22nd at Willy North, and February 19th at Willy West. I welcome you to join me in making our Co-op the best it can be.

Wisconsin Chapter 185, update on potential changes to the Wisconsin Cooperative laws

The Wisconsin Assembly and Senate passed bills changing some aspects of Wisconsin’s Statute 185 Cooperative laws. We’re still discussing the implications for us, but do not expect to alter any of our policis because of these changes. See for details.

In Memoriam

It is with a heavy heart that I share with you the passing of two staff members in the last couple of months. Retired employee Gene Hahn passed away on September 18th, and Shawn Poellinger of our North store, passed away on October 31st. 

Gene was hired in the summer of 1991 as a bookkeeper, and for the next 25 years worked in one capacity or another in the Finance department of the Co-op. I can, without hesitation, say that were it not for his tenacity, financial acumen and love of the cooperative business model, our Co-op would not be where we are today. 

Shawn started with us when we opened Willy North and quickly became a valued member of our Co-op family. A special thanks to our Owners for supporting an early close at Willy North to allow over 35 staff and others to travel to La Crosse to attend Shawn’s memorial service to show their love forShawn, his son and extended family and friends.


While it is difficult to say goodbye to our friends, it’s important to remember the gifts they brought to us and treasure their memory.


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