Has it been three years already? It feels like yesterday when I was collecting signatures to run for the Willy Street Co-op Board. The whole process of running for the Board is exhilarating for candidates willing to volunteer their time and represent the Owners of the Co-op.
A lot can change in three years. Working with other co-ops, I have seen an increase in competition that has challenged some co-ops’ ability to adapt to this new environment. The concepts of “natural” and “organic” are no longer differentiators of our brand. Additionally, competitors are trying to muscle each other out over having the lowest price. While we cannot always compete with the big box stores, successful cooperatives should strive to be profitable businesses that also meet consumer needs and improve the quality of life for the community.
Remember that by becoming an Owner, shopping at the Co-op and participating in Co-op governance, you help the economy work for everyone. Willy Street Co-op is committed to spreading these benefits by purchasing from many local producers, distributing profits back to Owners and creating good jobs for our community. All this, through being a cooperatively owned grocery business (how’s that for a differentiator!).
On July 1st, you can begin voting in our Board elections! Please remember to read through the candidate statements in this issue on pages 5-7 or posted at the stores to learn all about this year’s five candidates running for Willy Street Co-op’s Board of Directors. Elections will end on July 17th if you are voting online and July 19th by 6:00pm for physical ballots.
Here are a few notes you should keep in mind:
- There are three seats available for the Board of Directors. Board members Courtney Berner, Mike Engel and I (Dan Ramos Haaz) are not running for reelection. So, with no incumbents, all three seats are up for grabs.
- This year’s Board candidates have a diverse array of qualifications that will be essential to shape the strategic direction of the Co-op, which now includes THREE locations in the Madison area and over 33,000 Owners.
- Some Board candidates will start tabling outside of the stores. Stop by their table and say “Hi.” Share your thoughts on how to grow our cooperative economy or why you love shopping at the Co-op.
- Board candidates are encouraged to attend the annual meeting on July 14th. They are expected to prepare and present a brief statement on why they are running. They should also be prepared to answer any Owner questions from the stage.
- Not unlike our mission, we want our Board to have a balance between knowledge, expertise and a true representation of all our Owners.
- A call out to all, but particularly our newest shoppers on the northside! You have to be an Owner to vote.
- You can vote for Board candidates at the Annual Meeting & Party (AMP) this year! Board members and candidates will be there so this is your best chance to ask any questions of us you may have.