Last month, the Co-op celebrated a momentous occasion—the grand opening of Willy North. Hopefully you were able to join us at North during the celebrations, and if you have not yet seen it, I highly recommend you make a trip over; it’s a beautiful store!
Even more amazing is the story of how this store came to be. In less than a year from initial consideration of this site as a possibility for Willy Street Co-op’s third location, the community and the Co-op came together to make this a reality for everyone looking for a better option for local, natural and delicious food.
This would not be our reality today if it weren’t for the dedication, passion, and hard work of all the Co-op’s employees. Because of them, the northside residents spent very little time in a food desert situation and now have a brand new beautiful co-op right in their neighborhood.
The Board of Directors wanted to do something special to call attention to the above-and-beyond efforts we saw from staff in making this all happen, and congratulate everyone on an amazing job. The following resolution from the Board was issued at the Willy North grand opening.
Resolution on the Opening of Willy Street Co-op North from the Willy Street Co-op Board of Directors
Whereas the Willy Street Grocery Cooperative’s bylaws encourage expansion and growth of the cooperative model, and the Co-op ownership overwhelmingly voted in favor of expanding to a third store in August 2014;
Whereas, after a multi-year search for the right opportunity, the Board of Directors voted in April 2016 to approve the Willy Street Co-op’s expansion to a site of the recently-closed Pierce’s grocery store on North Sherman avenue, which is now known as “Willy North;”
Whereas Willy Street Co-op conducted planning, hiring, renovating, training, and stocking on a timeline unheard of in the grocery business, in part to minimize the time that the Northside went without a local grocery store.
Whereas the Co-op raised $1.5 million through the sale of Owner bonds in just 77 days, and Owners collectively provided the funding for nearly two-thirds of the project through their purchase of bonds;
Whereas the retail space of Willy North is 19,000 square feet—the size of Willy East and Willy West combined—which will allow the Co-op to carry thousands of new items to meet owner and community needs;
Whereas many Willy Street Co-op staff call the north side home and thus now have the opportunity to shop and work in their own neighborhood;
Whereas Willy Street Co-op welcomed applications from former Pierce’s staff, and initially over 20 former Pierce’s employees were hired and trained for Willy North;
Whereas the opening of Willy North lives up to the Co-op’s Ends of being at the forefront of a cooperative and just society that has a robust local economy built around equitable relationships; nourishes and enriches our community and environment; and has a culture of respect, generosity, and authenticity; now, therefore, be it
Resolved that the Willy Street Co-op project team, staff, project partners, community partners and Owners
- Made it possible for Madison’s Northside community to have a local, sustainable and reliable cooperatively-owned food source.
- Successfully completed this project in what by all commonly accepted practices would seem impossible to accomplish on such an aggressive timeframe.
- Worked countless hours with passion, conviction and dedication in volumes we have not seen before, cooperatively together toward a common goal to create Willy North.
- Thoroughly embodied the spirit of our Co-op, lived its mission, made the Board of Directors extremely proud to be a part of this organization and impressed us with your example of what a determined, focused and talented team can accomplish together.
- Deserve recognition for their service on this project for making Willy North a reality. Willy North was made possible through the hard work of the Willy North project team and staff of Willy East, Willy West, the Production Kitchen, the Central Office and new staff at Willy North, and all who purchased bonds to finance the store.