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Water; Willy West; Finance Committee; and More

anya firszt 1

By Anya Firszt, General Manager


September is the month when we celebrate Eat Local Month; we will have plenty of local food options on hand for your eating pleasure. Look for special local promotions throughout the store as we celebrate our local producers and the fruits of their labor!

September is also back-to-school month for many folks, which means for some, packed lunches and after school snacks! We have nourishing treats and wholesome lunch options galore at each of the retails. Yum yum.

And, just a reminder that the Harvest Moon falls on September 24—the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox, which is September 22. Welcome fall!


The record-breaking rainfall in late August presented us with some of our own work-related challenges at Willy West and our administrative offices.

First, the rainstorm on August 20th resulted in irreparable damage to one of the refrigeration compressors at Willy West. Thank goodness our refrigeration contractor, Commercial Air, was able to source a new compressor that was installed and operational the next day! Staff responded in an “all hands on deck” fashion to pull frozen product, and then restock it as soon as the unit was holding temperature—thank you all for a job well done.

Then, later the same week, we had to tackle potential flooding at our offices located along the Yahara River at E. Washington Ave. I imagine nearly everyone in Madison had been watching with great interest and concern the lakes and Yahara River water levels rising, and for us this was just outside our office windows.

At the time of the writing of this report, it was a complete unknown to what extent the flooding could be; we decided we needed to plan for the anticipated forecast of more rain and more extensive flooding. Once again staff at the Central Office were “all hands on deck” and they removed nearly everything from our basement storage room at the central office to the first floor to mitigate the potential of water damage to documents, marketing materials, etc. We also grappled with the likelihood that access to the office would be closed off if water levels continued to rise as forecasted, so we assigned staff to work in other sites. We will respond accordingly; only time will tell.

Thank you to all staff that helped move boxes and product to a safe, secure and colder place!


We had a rough few weeks in late July and early August related to expansion work; mainly two unexpected evacuations of the Willy West retail. The good news, no one was injured. My compliments to our staff, construction contractors, and our service providers for handling each incident as well as they did—paying attention first and foremost to the safety of everyone there.

We are well into and nearly done with Phase II of the expansion project. The old bathrooms and Community Room have been demolished, making way for the construction of the new Cheese department, and the relocation of the Juice/Coffee Bar is next on the list. In fact, the new Cheese department was open for business the last week of August.

Moving forward, we have decided to temporarily close Willy West to address some construction and build out work that requires more than just an overnight (off hours) timeline. Willy West will be closed Monday, October 1 and Tuesday, October 2, and then open for business at 7:30 am Wednesday, October 3—just in time for Wellness Wednesday! This closure will allow staff and contractors to relocate shelving aisles, remerchandise some departments, and buildout and paint the new soffit. Hang in there folks, after this month, we have less than a month to go!


The Board’s Finance Committee has a vacancy to fill. We are continuing our search for qualified candidates with financial experience who are committed to Willy Street Co-op and its ideals. The average time commitment is five to six hours each month. Please contact Ben Becker (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (link sends e-mail)) if you are interested and would like to volunteer.


September 23 from 12:00-2:00pm at Willy West. You can also reach me by calling my direct line: 608-237-1210 or emailing me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (link sends e-mail).


  • Labor Day, Monday, September 3: stores close at 7:30pm.
  • Staff picnic, Saturday, September 8: stores close at 6:00pm.
  • Willy West will be CLOSED:  Monday, October 1 and Tuesday, October 2; opening 7:30am Wednesday, October 3.

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