Annual Director’s Report 2016

Annual Director’s Report 2016
Well, we’ve weathered another year folks, and our boat is still afloat!

We started the year having to move to new building as a result of a significant shake up of membership and split from the previous organization (now called the Community Market). However the forces rallied and with an amazing show of good will, volunteers were able to source a new location, renovate it, equip it; and set up a formal volunteer roster for cashiering.

We have introduced an interact machine; the modifications in the kitchen including an industrial sink were completed; we held a highly successful grand opening, welcoming many new members; our list of vendors grew, helping to ensure a regular supply of locally sourced organic produce, meat and dairy products; we now have more cashiers and volunteers; For those of who had to use the old scale, the beautiful new scale was a wonderful buy; We adopted the lovely new logo designed by Wendy Hart Penner.

We are starting to gain acceptance in the village as a shopping option. We’ve joined the Chamber of Commerce and received an honorable mention in their business awards. We have started a column, “the Co-op Connection”, in the Lumby Valley Times and continue to post our newsletter and update our website. Yarrow had conducted a fundraiser prior to the AGM and thanks to that we have a buffer of funds which we have drawn on for publicity.
There continued to be a flux in board membership over the course of the year, with Russ Collins (President) and Julie Jones resigning and Robin LeDrew and Joanne Fisher being invited to make up the minimum. Julie offered to remain as the treasurer and, since our act states that we can nominate a non-board member to this role that is what we did. (It is worth noting that Julie was able to sort out the considerable confusion that was generated by the preceding split in the organization. We are extremely grateful!)
As we settled in to the new facility, Charlie Ashmore became the go-to man for just about everything. He set up detailed job descriptions for staffing and daily operations. He took on ordering, produce management, sourced equipment, did renovations like setting up the air conditioners and summer venting. He filled in any time a cashier was not available. By October, Charlie was so essential that when he proposed he be given the title of store manager, the board agreed.
The September financials had revealed that our cash flow was in negative territory so we decided to cut back on ordering in October.

In January, Charlie told the board that he would resign as store manager unless the board supported him in four demands. The first one, that the board undertake a program of training about co-ops, we agreed with completely. The other three were more challenging. Charlie wanted us to agree to pay the manager’s position at some future point when we could afford it. To forestall conflict of interest, Charlie resigned from the Board before we discussed his proposals.
After discussion, we agreed that while a paid manager’s position might be ideal, this was financially impossible at present and we were unwilling to tie ourselves to such a future commitment.

Charlie’s other two requests were: 1-to support his demand that the treasurer respond to the manager’s requests for additional information over and above her regular reports to the board. 2-to disallow individual memberships within the same household. The board was unable to agree with Charlie on these two matters.
The Board tried to facilitate a compromise and although we twice thought we had reached one, in the end Charlie tendered his resignation as store manager. While this would not have been the board’s first choice, there have been some positive outcomes.

Our amazing volunteers have banded together to support and facilitate the co-op’s ongoing growth and movement forward. We are enjoying the help of several new, fresh volunteers and the offerings of a number of new vendors in recent weeks. The Annual Financial Report has been completed to our satisfaction: we are going into the New Year with a small surplus. We are in the black and what’s more we have been able to pay off the deficit from the preceding year. We are continuing to educate our team and our members by initiating a clear labelling practice for existing and potential vendors. We are attracting more quality local vendors, providing us with options to shop local first.

We welcome NEW input and perspective on our Board of Directors. Continually adopting and revising new Policies and Procedures to guide us through all seen and unseen challenges, we take all our experiences as opportunities to grow.