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A Vision for the Co-op

Your Willy Street Co-op Board of Directors got together recently for our annual Board retreat. The goals of the retreat have varied in the past from reviewing the previous year, to setting goals for the near term, to more long range planning. This year we focused on a vision for the Co-op as well as strategies for working more effectively together.

The vision process was informative and enjoyable—I found it personally rewarding to take a look at the future direction of the Co-op. And with the downturn in the economy and our desire to keep making progress toward a resilient and vibrant Co-op, it seemed to be a timely and important priority for us. Our focus on expanding to a second retail site in the past few years has also made us feel like we were being too short-sighted in our goal setting. Hence, we had lots of incentive to think more on the long-term vision for where we want the Co-op to go.

We brainstormed several different topics as we discussed what we thought was important for us to be moving toward as a cooperative:

  • Promoting the cooperative business model
  • Serving Owner needs
  • Being accessible to all
  • Moving toward a different economic model
  • Having a fair and joyful workplace
  • Supporting our suppliers
  • Being stewards of our natural resources
  • Sharing knowledge with other cooperatives
  • Contributing to sustainable food systems
  • Providing consistent and sustainable returns

After all this brainstorming, we realized that much of our conversation was covering how we measure success, but not capturing what we actually want to be moving toward. So, after more deliberation (and quite a few bagels and cups of coffee,) we came up with the following statement:

“Cooperating for a sustainable future”

We know that words on paper are never enough and that action speaks louder than words, but our goal with creating this vision statement is to be able to consistently measure whether the strategies and goals that we set and the activities that we are asked to participate in are in line with where we want to be headed as a co-op. While we were elected to represent you, our vision needs to include input and support from you, our Owners and staff. We would like to know what you think and whether this vision statement adequately captures where you want us to be headed as a cooperative. So let us know what you think by writing to us at.