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In Memoriam; Cheese Challenge; West Expansion; and More

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by Anya Firszt, General Manager

March is National Women’s Month. The Co-op employs 397 people; 52% are women, and of our 38 management positions, 54% are filled by women, and all but one was an internal promotion. 

“Here’s to strong women! May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.”  -unknown.


In memoriam: Carmen Miranda-Torres

It is my sad duty to share with you the passing of a Carmen Miranda-Torres. She was 23. 

Carmen worked at Willy East and Willy North as a customer service representative and cashier. She had been treated for cancer two years ago, but unfortunately the cancer came back. She was a delightful, strong, witty free spirit, and I consider myself blessed to have known her. She will be missed.  


On the horizon: Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Planning 

We just closed the second quarter of the current fiscal year and we have started our budget planning for next fiscal year. Our fiscal year runs July through June; planning for the coming fiscal year is based on anticipated performance in quarters that have yet to be closed. Sales currently are running higher than budget and we continue to manage expenses extremely well. The FY19 budget will be submitted to the Board for approval at their June Board meeting; once approved a summary will be shared with Owners in the Reader before calendar year end. 


West Expansion Project

In the coming month I am hopeful that construction will begin! The sooner we start, the sooner we will be done. 

We met our Owner Bond drive goal of $600,000 within just 25 days! And, we extended the Bond drive another few days to include any appointments we had scheduled, ending on Valentine’s Day with a grand total of $674,500 in Bond sales. I offer my sincere thanks to those of you who stepped up to support our Willy West expansion effort by purchasing a Bond. 

We will soon be able to share with you the phasing plan for the construction work at Willy West. This plan will delineate what areas of the retail floor will and won’t be accessible during certain phases of construction and (roughly) the timing for each phase to take place. At this time we expect that almost all products will still be available during construction, although some will be temporarily moved. We are planning for the project to last five months—ending (fingers crossed) before November. If the thought of any kind of disruption to your shopping routine makes you cringe, please consider shopping at Willy East or Willy North! 


March Madness Cheese Challenge 

I am happy to report that again we are putting a spin on the traditional NCAA basketball tournament known as March Madness. We offer you an edible version with 32 local Wisconsin cheeses vying for the top-seeded position; from March 15–April 1 you can vote for your favorite local Wisconsin cheese. The person who submits the bracket that most closely matches the results will win eight pounds of cheese! May the best cheese win. 


Annual Board Elections

I mentioned last month that a Board member, Dave Pauly, resigned prior to the end of his term. At the writing of this report, it is yet unknown if the Board will appoint an Owner to fill that vacancy or not. Stay tuned. 

That said, it’s not too soon to think about running for the Board. This year there are three seats to that need to be filled; three 3-year seats will be vacated at the end of the fiscal year. Candidate statements are due June 1. The voting period runs from July 1 through 6:00pm on July 17; candidates are invited to address the membership at the Annual Meeting and Party (AMP) on Thursday, July 12, as part of the business meeting. Owners are invited to cast a ballot as well at the AMP. Look for more details in the Reader or on our website next month. 


Discover card 

We are happy to announce that we have been able to fulfill a long-term Owner request: all locations are now able to accept Discover credit cards at the registers!  


In closing 

Face time with the GM is next scheduled for Monday, March 19th at Willy East from 6:00-7:00pm. The one following that is scheduled for Monday, April 16th at Willy North same time, 6:00-7:00pm. 

There is no telling what will happen weatherwise this month—frosted windshields in the morning and shirt sleeves and short pants in the afternoon. We’re bound to see more sunlight and slush in the coming days. Be well. 

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