by Stephanie Ricketts, Board Member
Happy November everyone! There are just two months left in this calendar year, so let’s make the most of them.
Get out there and VOTE!
For starters, get out there and VOTE! We have an important election coming up this month, including selecting our Governor, Congressional Reps, State Reps and more. Democracy only works when everyone participates, so grab your friends, your family, heck even your neighbors and get out the vote! Find out your polling place here: www.cityofmadison.com/clerk/where-do-i-vote/ (link is external)
Not registered to vote yet? Fear not—Wisconsin allows registration at the polls! Learn more about how to register and vote in the same day here: myvote.wi.gov/en-us/
This is a time of year when many of us take time to cultivate an extra sense of gratitude. What are your Board Members grateful for these days? Here’s what a few of us had to say:
“I’m thankful for being in good health. And, of course, part of being in good health is eating good food from Willy Street.”
“I am thankful I get to represent Owners on our Board of Directors. I am also thankful for our Owners and the ways they nourish the Dane County community and surrounding areas.”
“I’m grateful for all of our Owners and our customers, and for the amazing staff who work hard every day to make the Co-op an extraordinary place.”
“I’m thankful to have a local business that’s dedicated to supporting local producers, improving the communities it serves and providing its customers with the products they want at competitive prices.”
Meet Your Board Member: Trevor Bynoe
Trevor was elected in the July 2018 election! Get to know a little more about one of your newest Board members.
Stephanie Ricketts (SR): What is your first memory of the Willy Street Co-op?
Trevor Bynoe (TB): I actually just moved here last summer! My wife was getting recruited by University, and they brought me here to check out the city before we made our decision. I’d never been to the Midwest before at all—we’d always been on the East Coast. I came in Jan/Feb 2017, rented a car, and came to the Willy Street area first. I happened to drive by the Co-op and decided to check it out, since it seemed cool. It felt good right away when I walked in—nice and cozy, not too big, lots of great products, lots of local stuff. I remember getting some juice, some coffee. It was a great experience, and gave me a very nice feeling about the city more broadly. Visiting the Co-op started my trip off in a very positive manner.
SR: How did you first learn about cooperatives, and what was the first co-op you joined?
TB: My mom has always been a member of credit unions living in Rhode Island. More recently I worked for a non-profit in East Harlem in NYC, and they were in the food business. We ran a
commercial bakery and trained immigrant minority women to become professional bakers. One of the new programs we tried to develop was a worker-owned co-op that would provide skilled food
labor to businesses who need it. I was involved in various aspects of that work, and it was really eye opening to learn more about co-ops and how they operate. Unfortunately, ours didn’t last, but it was cool to see them do well while they were going. It wasn’t a matter of the co-op being unsuccessful—it was more of a matter of folks not having time outside of work to manage the business.
SR: What do you rely on Willy Street Co-op for?
TB: The thing I love most about the Co-op is the selection of local and almost all organic produce. Our family made the decision to go from a regular diet to a primarily vegetarian diet when we moved to Madison. We now live very close to Willy West, and it’s been awesome having the Co-op so close, because we do end up buying most of our produce there. I like that it’s all organic—we have small kids and don’t want them (our ourselves!) to be eating all those pesticides and whatnot.
SR: What are your top three favorite Willy Street Co-op foods?
TB: Again, the Produce dept is a mainstay for us! I really do like the Juice Bar juices. I dabbled into juicing a little bit, and I didn’t realize how much work it is! It’s so much simpler to just go to the Co-op. The third, I really love the caprese sandwich in the Deli—it’s one of my favorites.
SR: Do you have any favorite food traditions?
TB: Now that we’re on a different diet we’ll have to develop some new ones! My older daughter is about to turn four, so we’ve been doing a lot more baking so she can be a part of it. She really loves making muffins, and we’ve been experimenting with different flavors. Almost every weekend we’re making muffins—it’s a tradition in the making.
SR: Besides being a Willy Street Co-op Board Member, what else do you like to do with your time?
TB: I like to spend time with my family and my kids. My kids are at an age now where they’re very active, and it’s fun. My wife and I are also avid runners, or at least we try to be. We try to get into a good number of races here, and try to find races that allow strollers so the kids can come too. Otherwise, it’s fun to explore Madison. Theater was a big part of our life in New York, and now we are getting out to the theater here more, going to some children’s theater productions, etc.
SR: What are you most excited about in being a new Board Member, and what do you see as the biggest opportunities and challenges the Co-op will face over the next few years?
TB: I’m most excited about having the opportunity to be in this leadership position of a company that has been very successful, very popular and well known in the Madison area. It has a good reputation overall and is involved in the community, and has found a way to balance all those things and still be successful. It’s exciting to be a part of that and learn what goes on behind the scenes to make that possible. I’m in finance and accounting so it’s also really interesting to see how the organization stays financially sustainable year to year. Opportunity-wise, Madison continues to grow and there will be continued demand for more healthful, local and organic products. That’s what people want these days. There’s always the opportunity to expand our operations and expand our reach. The challenge though is that there is also a lot of competition. Big consolidations like Amazon and Whole Foods will put pressure on our business. We need to always stay nimble, and meet customers’ needs so we can continue to succeed. That will always be a challenge for the Co-op.
SR: Is there anything else you’d like our Owners to know?
TB: I am excited to help represent them, and to ensure the Co-op remains a place that is friendly for customers and a successful business.
Thank You, Again
This month, I’m especially grateful for the opportunities to see many of my friends and family members, often around food made with Co-op ingredients. I’m grateful to all of you, our Owners, who shop, vote, write comments and otherwise help steer this organization forward. During these topsy turvy times, I am meta grateful for the Cooperative Principles, and the chance to put them into action in real and tangible ways through Willy Street Co-op. Thank you, all of you, for being a part of the Co-op!