by Anya Firszt, General Manager
Welcome July —the beginning of our new fiscal year.
June marked the end of Fiscal Year 2018, and what a banner year we had! We will be able to report at our upcoming Annual Meeting & Party sales greater than budgeted, planned losses less than budgeted, and that we finally topped the $50 million annual sales milestone.
In Fiscal Year 2018, we opened the outdoor seating area and the Juice and Coffee Bar at Willy North; at Willy West we installed a new bulk liquid fixture, and started our remodel and expansion work at that site (plus we raised $640,000 in Owner bonds to pay for the West expansion). We replaced two refrigerated produce cases at both Willy East and Willy North to support improved energy efficiency and product quality standards. We added beer, wine and cider at Willy East, which rounded out our offerings to now be similar at all our retails. On the employee side of our operation, we increased starting wage, reinstated staff evaluations, awarded pay-for-performance raises, and updated pay ranges with pay adjustments. Whew!
At their June meeting, the Board approved the Fiscal Year 2019 Operating and Capital Budgets as recommended by the Co-op’s Finance Committee. The coming year’s budget allows for reinvestment back into the organization, at the same time outlining financial expectations to ensure financial sustainability for the Co-op in the future.
This year we will focus first and foremost on wrapping up the Willy West expansion and remodel work in the fall, as well as a few other key projects. These projects are designed to improve your shopping experience (for example, refrigeration case upgrades at all three retails and the production facility). Willy North will see an additional cash register lane; Willy East will see new flooring in their Commons, remerchandising of some sub-departments, and installation of an outdoor busing station. A more complete detail of the Fiscal Year 2019 will be shared with you in an upcoming edition of the Reader.
Customer experience (pilot) survey coming soon!
We’re working with our partners at National Co-op Grocers to develop a way to get timely feedback from you. In late July, randomly selected shoppers will begin to receive a survey invitation on their receipt (this includes receipts Owners have requested be emailed to them). Shoppers are invited to rate their experience with specific departments and the store overall, and have the opportunity to add specific comments or request to be contacted. When shoppers complete the survey within three days, they receive a validation code to print on their receipt. Then they can use this receipt as a coupon for $5 off a purchase of $25 or more on a future shopping trip. The coupon expires one month after the receipt date.
Willy West expansion
Work continues as planned and on schedule. You will soon see work happening in the existing retail space that will require the remerchandising of some product to allow for areas to be closed for construction. The project team has done an incredible job planning as much access to products as you are accustomed to buying, while creating space for the contractors to do their job. I have confidence the end result will be worth the hassles along the way. Stay tuned!
Final reminder! Board of Director elections July 1-17, 2018
The time has come to exercise your Ownership rights and cast your ballot for our new Board members! Ballots are due no later than Tuesday, July 17th at 6:00pm! Results will be announced at the Special Owner meeting that same evening.
The Annual Meeting & Party (AMP) is scheduled for Thursday, July 12th in Madison’s McPike Park. Festivities begin at 4:00pm. Five-thousand meal tickets are available starting July 1 at any of the retails.
Finance Committee Seeking New Member
Special store hours: July 1 and July 4
All stores will close at 7:30pm on Sunday, July 1st for our year end physical inventory count, and at 7:30pm on Wednesday, July 4th in observance of Independence Day.