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Willy Street Co-op is celebrating Co-op Month along with hundreds of other co-ops across the country. This is a good time to think about the value of the cooperative business model and our shared principles, and what it means to you. I am routinely struck by the power of our collective Ownership and that each one of us has a say in the business. By choosing to be an owner and shopping at Willy Street Co-op, you not only gain access to good food and products, but you help strengthen the local economy by providing jobs, supporting local farmers and producers, and community development. 

We seek to be responsive to our Owners by providing goods and services you ask for, and when possible we source these goods and services from cooperatively owned businesses. The Madison area (and Wisconsin overall) has a rich cooperative history and a diverse number of goods and services provided by cooperatives. If supporting the cooperative business model is a passion of yours, please consider supporting these producer cooperatives when you shop at our store: Alaffia, Andes Cooperativa, Blue Diamond, Equal Exchange Cooperative, Florida’s Natural, Himalayan Chandra, Just Coffee Cooperative, Frontier Cooperative, Nature’s Bakery Cooperative, Organic Valley, Regenerative Roots, Shanthilmalai Nag Champa, Sunmaid, Westby Cooperative Creamery, Wisconsin Growers, and Wisconsin Meadows. 

Other cooperatives that you can support in the Madison area include Ace Hardware, Group Health Cooperative of South Central Wisconsin, Isthmus Engineering and Manufacturing Co-op, Regent Market Co-op, True Value Hardware, Yahara River Grocery Co-op, Union Cab, and more. And, I don’t want to forget about the UW Center for Cooperatives, our local source for cooperative development existing and emerging cooperatives; and Allied Community Cooperative, a budding cooperative focused on projects to benefit the Allied-Dunn’s Marsh Neighborhood such as their healthy corner store (still under development). Although not cooperatives, credit unions are member owned and operated financial institutions and share many of the same principles and values as consumer-owned co-ops. Whew! 


If you haven’t paid your Owner equity investment in full, October is a great time to show your co-op loyalty and invest fully in our widespread support of the greater Madison community. This month we are asking Owners who are not yet paid-in-full to become paid-in-full. We’re also waiving the $2 administrative fee for all equity payments this month. Please see related article on page 19. Thank you! 


At the time of publishing this issue of the Reader, Willy Street Co-op has heard word that on Wednesday, September 27th at 11:00am., the Wisconsin State Assembly Committee on Financial Institutions was planning to a public hearing that includes review of Assembly Bill 353 relating to the organization and operation of cooperatives and extensions of credit by electric cooperatives. AB 353 has a companion bill under review in the State Senate (SB 281). The bills seek to amend Wis. Chapter 185, the statute which governs the way in which cooperatives may conduct and structure their businesses. For a detailed look at the proposed amendments to the statute, how it relates to our cooperative, and links to the bills and opposing positions taken by Cooperative Network and Wisconsin Farmers Union, visit cooperative-bills. 


The construction fencing for our Willy North outdoor seating area project came down last week and our hope is the new seating arrives before the snow flies! 

The plans for the Willy North Juice and Coffee Bar are done, the equipment list has been finalized, and now for the fun! We expect work to begin in October, with a rough construction timeline of five weeks… just in time for the holiday season. 

Goodwill Industries of South Central Wisconsin is about to open their newest retail storefront in the same shopping center as Willy North—the Northside Town Center. We wish to welcome our new neighbors to the shopping center and their contribution to further revitalizing the business district. 


Willy East remains engaged in the process of applying for a license to sell beer, wine and cider at our east location. This is in response to years and years of requests to bring back these products, and we have finally determined to move forward with plans to do so. The Marquette Neighborhood supports a multitude of diverse businesses, both new and well established, and quite a few that provide similar products and services. We believe that there is enough room for all of us, and more, and we look forward to continuing to work with all local businesses to keep our community thriving. 

The license to sell alcohol will go before the Alcohol License Review Committee no sooner than October, whose recommendation will then go to the Common Council. We will keep you posted about the process. 


It never ceases to amaze me when a need surfaces, like helping those countless survivors of the recent hurricanes and earthquakes, how generous this community truly is—Willy Street Co-op shoppers have contributed to date $47,088 at press time. 


Thanksgiving Day: retails are open 7:30am-2:30pm 


We truly appreciate our Co-op Owners. Thank you for your patronage. We literally wouldn’t be here without you!

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