by Anya Firszt, General Manager
I think it’s safe to finally say “spring has sprung!”
Seedlings along with all your gardening needs are ready and waiting for you at each of the retails. Time to dig in!
Willy Street Co-op receives 2018 “Force for Positive Change” award!
I am pleased as punch to report recognition our Co-op has received because of some of the good work we do!
The Co-op shared the spotlight with ten other Wisconsin organizations who were the recipients of the 2018 Force for Positive Change awards sponsored by Marquette University and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF).
The Force for Positive Change competition is intended to celebrate social enterprise in Wisconsin, including organizations that take a business model approach to making a positive difference in our state by deliberately addressing social challenges affecting people and/or the planet. Entries were submitted from more than 150 initial applicants in five different categories. Willy Street Co-op, Kickapoo Coffee Roasters, and The Local Food Experiment LLC were selected as winners in the Food/Agriculture category.
Our application was focused on the Double Dollars program, including the redemption of $45,825 in Double Dollars vouchers (93% of all vouchers issued), and customers spent $4.89 per $5 voucher (98% of the total voucher value), our Access Discount Program, yielding a 40% increase in enrollment year-over-year, and SNAP (supplemental nutrition assistance program) purchases that increased 22% year-over-year.
We plan to use the $12,500 prize to fund further development of the Double Dollars program.
NCG Co+efficient Sustainability Star Award
At the recent National Cooperative Grocers annual spring meeting, 10 member co-ops were recognized for their efforts in 2017 to create positive sustainability impacts in their community. Our Co-op was recognized for establishing the Retail Ready Lab that provides support to new local product vendors; increasing access to healthy food; and securing energy audits at all sites in 2017. You should be extremely proud of your Co-op and the positive difference we make!
NCG is a business services cooperative, which we are a member of, that represents 147 food co-ops across the country. NCG helps to unify our efforts, optimize operational and marketing resources, strengthen purchasing power and help secure more value to co-ops and shoppers everywhere.
Community Reinvestment Fund Grant Reception
Since establishing the Community Reinvestment Fund (CRF) in 1992, the Co-op has donated over $425,000 back to the community to qualified nonprofits and cooperatives to support developmental and educational projects. This year’s award ceremony is scheduled for Wednesday, May 23 from 6:00-8:00pm at Willy East; learn more about the CRF program on page 28.
Willy West expansion
After months of planning and number crunching and budget review, I am thrilled to report that construction began last month! At the time of the writing of this report, we were in the early stages of demolition of the new space—phase one of the five phase project. Staff is working hard on ways to make shopping as easy as possible in what will no doubt be challenging and unusual circumstances. You can expect weekly updates on the areas in the store that will have limited or no access.
Annual Meeting & Party (AMP)
The Co-op’s Annual Meeting & Party, (AMP), is scheduled for Thursday, July 12 in Madison’s Central Park beginning at 4:00pm! You are invited to come early and stay late; in between you can participate in the Co-op’s annual business meeting, eat a tasty meal, listen to live music, cast your ballot for Board elections, and have fun!
We have the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center to thank for setting the stage (and grounds) for our event, which is the opening night of La Fete de Marquette. The retail stores will not be closing early.
Other dates to celebrate this coming summer
•Marquette Waterfront Festival: June 9–10
•Atwood Fest: July 28–29
•Central Park Sessions: August 1–2, August 8–9, and August 15–16
•Orton Park Festival August 23–26
•Middleton Good Neighbor Festival August 24–26
•Willy Street Fair: September 15–16
CLOSING EARLY May 28
All stores will be open until 7:30pm on Monday, May 28 in observance of Memorial Day, and the unofficial start of the summer vacation season.