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Bond Drive, West Expansion, and More

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by Anya Firszt, General Manager

Welcome February, the shortest month of the year! We are supposedly deep into the cold winter months, but with the warmer-than-usual January temperatures, who knows what to expect weather-wise this month?

What you can expect this month at your Co-op between the Super Bowl, Wellness Wednesday, Mardis Gras and Valentine’s Day—we can provide you ways to celebrate, and ways to stay well along the way. Even though the Willy West expansion project is high on our list of priorities for the organization. I am also pleased to report the Willy North Juice and Coffee Bar project is well under way. By the middle of the month, you should be able to order a made-to-order “something something” at Willy North, same as our other two locations! I, for one, cannot wait to see the finished work and the fruits of our labor. Also on the horizon this month is the beginning of the budgeting process for next fiscal year, at the same time we are working to manage this year’s expenses to sales and strive to achieve better-than-budgeted goals. Additionally, work in-progress includes developing staff capacity, negotiating farmer and producer agreements for the coming growing season, overseeing the Community Reinvestment Fund awards, planning for the Annual Meeting & Party, and continuing to mentor those organizing a start up co-op in the Madison area, the Allied Community Co-op.


In the January issue of the Reader we included a Willy West expansion site layout plan for you to review, as well as the announcement of the Bond Drive to start on January 15th, 2018. We have moved forward with finalizing the site plans, further developing the equipment list and merchandising plan, additional work includes color and surface finish decisions for cupboards, countertops, and work surfaces, bathroom fixtures, signage inside and out, Community Room kitchen design, and of course floor treatments and coverings.

Our goal for the Bond Drive is to raise $600,000 by April 30th, 2018, with the possibility of capping total Bond sales at $800,000. It is with great enthusiasm that at the writing of this report by the end of the first week of the Willy West Bond Drive we raised $287,500, nearly half our total goal. I imagine at the same rate of Bond sales we could reach our goal before this issue has reached your mail or inbox! I offer my thanks to Owners for your vote of confidence and willingness to buy Bonds to support this project!


I was asked by one Owner to provide an update to the Wisconsin cooperative law status that was announced last fall. In the October and November issues of the Reader, I shared with you information on the proposed changes to the Wisconsin Cooperative Law; Chapter 185. The bills calling for the amendment of Wisconsin Chapter 185 passed both the Wisconsin Assembly and Senate, with the Assembly Bill 353 being signed into law on November 27th, 2017. At this time, we do not expect the change to affect any of our policies.


Dave Pauly, Willy Street Co-op Board member, tendered his resignation following the January Board meeting with news that he is moving to Sheboygan, Wisconsin to be closer to family. Thank you Dave for your years of service and commitment to the Co-op. Your astute business acumen and praise to staff for a job well done will be missed. The Board will discuss this month whether to appoint an owner to fill the vacancy or not. Stay tuned.


Despite always having had an open-door policy, as a reminder I have scheduled time to be available for face-to-face conversations with Owners and other concerned members of the community. I am rotating between retail sites and the next such open-door session will be held at Willy West on February 16th, in the Community Room. I again welcome you to join me in sharing your ideas and concerns to make our Co-op the best it can be. I can also be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (link sends e-mail)

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