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Merry solstice everyone. December 21st marks the shortest day of the year and the return to longer, sunnier days. Smile! 

 “Winter is not a season, it’s a celebration.” -Anamika Mishra

’Tis the season for merriment… and giving! 

December is not only one of our gift-giving months, but another eating one as well! I am still full from Thanksgiving leftovers! At the same time, my mouth is watering at the promise of digging into our family’s holiday food favorites. 

This year you have the option of shopping at one or all three of our stores. You can find ready-made gifts or the ingredients to make your own delicious creations. Catering offers yet another option to help you through the holidaze! I am personally torn between hand-knitted goodies and hand-crafted chocolates. 

Read on in this month’s Reader for some gift-giving and good-tasting suggestions from staff; and look for the “Nifty Gifty” signs in the retails, highlighting gift ideas for your friends and family. You can also give the gift of Co-op Ownership! 

POP Campaign

We are again running the Pantry of Plenty (POP) program at the registers! All shoppers are invited to donate $5, $10 or $25 at check-out.  All donations will be accumulated and then equally distributed among the following organizations: Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center’s food pantry, Goodman Community Center’s Fritz Food Pantry, Bread of Life Food Pantry, The River Food Pantry, the Lussier Community & Education Center’s, and Middleton Outreach Ministries’ food pantries. (These are the organizations that receive food donations left on the donation shelves in our stores.) Last year this campaign raised just under $9,000, and we hope to raise even more this year!

Northside Planning Council: North Star Awards 

Last month Willy Street Co-op received one of the NPC’sNorth Star Business Awards for 2016. It was a true honor to accept this award on behalf of the Co-op, but make no mistake, this award goes to all our staff, in particular the project team, who made Willy North a reality. Our staff are the real shining stars of our cooperative. I am in awe of their accomplishments thus far, and I have confidence in their skills and determination to make Willy North a success. Thank you all! 

To read more about all the recipients of a North Star awards, please find the press release here:http://northsideplanningcouncil.org/north-star-awards-2016-nov-4-at-530-pm/

FY6 Annual Report

The Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2016 will be delivered to you mid-December. I encourage you to take a few moments to review what together we accomplished in FY16. You can all be proud of the work your Co-op achieved last fiscal year; some of our work was part of the plan, and some was not even imagined. Wow-wee, what a year we had! 

Mural at Willy East Completed!

We have Zach Bartell and Joseph Starkweather to thank for the mural that now resides on the Jenifer Street side of our east location. Their piece was selected from a total of eight entries as part of the Marquette Neighborhood Association Arts Committee Mural Project. 

The Co-op is proud to have partnered with MNA on this project, and we welcome any opportunity to invest in our local community of artists, supporting the beautification of the neighborhood and city. If you have not yet seen our newest mural at Willy East, please take a few moments to check it out! 

Special Store Hours

Hours of operations a couple of days this month are slightly different than normal; take a look below and plan accordingly.

•December 24th: retails close at 6:00pm

•December 25th: all Co-op locations are closed

•New Year’s Eve: we will close at our customary 9:30pm

•New Year’s Day: all Co-op locations closed

Wil-Mar Warmer in December at Gib’s

Our neighbor down the street, Gib’s, is offering a special drink in December. Called the Wil-Mar Warmer, a portion of proceeds from this hot toddy-esque drink benefit the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center! Stop in anytime during December to try one out.

Anyone Can Shop; Anyone Can Join; Everyone Welcome

As we bring calendar year 2016 to a close, we wish to recognize all of you and respect your differences and commonalities. It’s important for you as well as your friends, neighbors, and community members to know that regardless of gender, social, racial, political, or religious affiliation, you are welcome here. If you need assistance in the store or in our parking lot, please ask us for help, we are here for and welcome you! Have a warm, safe, and cooperative New Year.