by Stephanie Ricketts, Board Member
Happy New Year everyone! And what a year we have left behind! For the Co-op, 2018 saw an expansion at Willy West, the election of two new Board members and re-election of one, wine and beer being offered at Willy East, and the opening of the Juice Bar at Willy North. It’s a fascinating time for cooperative grocers on the whole, as traditional grocers continue to merge and Amazon continues to explore grocery possibilities via its ownership of Whole Foods.
As always, there is a lot happening at your Co-op entering into 2019. We are grateful that you are a part of our community!
Last month the Board had their last meeting of the calendar year a little early, on December 4. This month we will return to our regularly scheduled meetings (which take place on the 3rd Tuesday of every month). The group officially welcomed Ann Hoyt to the Board. Ann has been appointed by the Board to fill a vacant seat until the next Board election cycle. If the name “Ann Hoyt” is familiar, it’s likely because Ann has been working with and for cooperatives for over 20 years! From the UW-Center for Cooperatives to the GHC Board, Ann’s dedication to the cooperative principles is lifelong. The breadth and depth of her co-op knowledge is vast, and we feel lucky to have her wisdom and perspective at the table.
The Board also reviewed an updated SWOT analysis, as conducted by the General Manager and her team. SWOT stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats, and is one tool our Co-op uses for strategic planning. In addition to just identifying the various items in each section of the SWOT, the Board also heard updates on how the management team is planning on making the most of our strengths and opportunities, and proactively addressing our weaknesses and threats.
Finanical Conditions and Activities Policy
The Board also reviewed the Policy B1 Monitoring Report. Policy B1, also called the “Financial Conditions and Activities” policy, essentially lays out guidelines for the General Manager that ensure the financial health of the organization. Some metrics include, “Seek approval by the (Ownership) membership prior to any decisions to buy or sell the Co-op's buildings or to spend over 10% of total equity on expansion.” (Which is why you, our Owners, vote on any major expansion projects!) and “Maintain a ratio of current assets to current liabilities of 1.25, unless otherwise directed by the Board.” There are 13 items included in this policy, which the Board reviews on a quarterly basis. I am happy to report that the GM is in full compliance with all points of this important policy.