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40th Anniversary; Director of Operations; Strategic Planning & More

Happy 40th anniversary Willy Street Co-op! Over the past four decades our Co-op has evolved from stacks of produce on the floor and an honors system cigar box into a two-retail operation that serves over 31,000 Owners. I am so proud of the work that this organization has done over the years, and excited to see where we go from here. Please come by the store and take part in our 40th Anniversary Celebration—you can find all the details further along in the Reader!

With this milestone in mind, Stephanie Ricketts and I poked through some of the old staff logbooks we have from approximately 40 years ago. Each book is like a little handwritten time capsule, catching the orders, dilemmas, conversations and celebrations of Willy Street Co-op. Here’s a little snapshot of what was going on in your Co-op back in the day!

  • September, 1974: “Hi Kids, welcome to the Monkey house! The stockers will tell you what they know—what 2 know is that Ela Orchards delivered Melbas and Miltons tonite—both of which need stocking. Have fun! -J.J.”
  • October 14, 1974: “Orderers, I’m going to be advertising our hot cereals in Free For All, Wilmar, City Lites, etc. so try to keep them in stock. This includes our bulk cereals (millet, steel cut oats, etc. and packaged cereals.”
      “And who forgot to freeze the out-of-date soy burgers?”
  • November 28, 1974: “Hi Sunday people. The hand-grind coffee-grinder is broken. It came undone it is in the dish drain and the block of wood is by the radio. -Robin.”
      “Grinder is okay—I think someone tried grinding dates in it. -Frank.”
  • December, 1974: “All the rice is in now. I averaged all the prices together & came out with 27 cents a pound. -J”
  • October, 1982: “Let the Buyers beware: in case you haven’t noticed business seems to be picking up a lot….”
  • Wednesday, November 10th, 1982: “Tonight! Crosby, Stills + Nash Concert!”

Looking at where we are right now, here are some major pieces of news:

Director of Operations Hired!
Another piece of our staffing restructure has fallen into place with the hiring of Marc BrownGold as the Director of Operations! Hailing from just north of Philadelphia, Marc will join the Willy Street Co-op team and oversee store managers, Maintenance and the Production Kitchen.

Willy East Remodel—Done and DONE
At this point we’ve gotten through the last of the items on the remodel “to-do” list—I hope you’re enjoying your remodeled store and its new amenities!

Strategic Plan Work is Moving Forward
We are moving forward with our work to create a three-to-five year strategic plan for our organization, so we can better evaluate and choose the ways our Co-op will change, grow and stay the same in the relatively near future. We’ll be asking for your input in the months to come—please stay tuned!

Willy West Reset
It’s been just about four years since we opened Willy West, and we’re now looking to see how we can improve Willy West shoppers’ experiences in the store. Look for a product reset in the weeks ahead, as well as some other tweaks to improve our service.

Third Retail Site
In August Owners approved an expenditure of funds to open a third retail site, and our selection process continues to move forward. We’re taking our time to vet sites very carefully, and will share a recommendation once one is approved by the Board of Directors. Thank you for your patience as we weigh the myriad factors that come with finding a great third retail for this organization.
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