GM Meeting July 2013 Notes
Facilitator: ChristinaTimekeeper: Sarah Secretary: Michael
INTRODUCTION: We are an omnivorous coop (Sean quote) Welcome two new members (friends of Sean) At Greene Hill all members work 2 hours a month as cashier or stocker; low prices (particularly produce) as compared to Whole Foods Members must invest $150; with regular shopping members recover investment within 3 months
MINUTES: no discussion; all approve GM minutes from 06.20.13
FINANCE (Sean) Finance has set up a binder in the Store for any member-owner to look at. The binder will contain the latest financial information, such as: this report; weekly, monthly, annual and year-to-date sales (soon); and, eventually, the Co-op quarterly financial reports: income statements and balance sheets. GHFC could also place the Board Minutes in this binder (from the General Meetings and the Board Work Meetings). The general consensus is that the Minutes posted to the Web Site should not have Co-op financial data (as a safety precaution), but that the full Minutes with financial data will be available in the Store. The binder is labeled "Greene Hill Food Co-op: Meeting Minutes and Financial Reports."
MEMBERSHIP REPORTS (Nick) Member statistics: 14 new members in July 24 new members in June 203 new members total in 2013 1278 members total 245 on leave 1033 working members 153 of delinquent members Most people leave due to moving Comments about what people who leave like most: Community and prices Comments about what they don’t like: lack of labor, coop prices and hours, better cashier equipment, less variety, Point of Sale system
MAIN AGENDA: Membership Relief Council: (Al Rabinowitz): 3 recommendations of individuals who have asked for relief from coop duties (as follows): 1) Member out of the country on bereavement leave; asked for addition leave; members get one bereavement leave opportunity (one shift without penalty); if need more time apply for general leave of absence. Committee approves; general members approve, board approves. 2) Member who can’t shop so she wants a proxy. Committee did not look favorably on this; if a member you should be able to shop; medical would be different. Working professional does work their shift but due to professional obligations cannot actually find time to shop. DK: assistant should become a member; only members can shop; Sara: do we allow proxy shoppers at all?; Lawrence: can we okay it provisionally? Nick, would feel more relieved if a photo accompanies check in. Limited time span to compromise to ramp up/examine? Committee no; General member consensus do nothing; Board do nothing. 3) Member whose spouse is in life-threatening treatment; wants to go on care giving leave and spouse on medical. Members who can’t work for serious health condition, caregiver and or/proxy can shop for incapacitated person. Leave for up to six months; for extension should apply again in same manner that they applied for first leave. Committee approves; general members approve, board approves.
MARKETING COMMITTEE UPDATE: Sara and Cosmo New initiatives: creative campaign to engage community with coop; reinvigorate existing new members/annual membership drive coordinated with outreach to combat dip in membership + slowdown in summer shopping. Key points for new initiative: - GHFC has strong visual identity; look at language and communication both internal and external - Revisit current communication strategy; marketing will reinforce shared values with food justice and outreach Details: - Month-long membership drive in September - Fall party - Social media scavenger hunt - Achieve measurable outcomes - Will announce in newsletter an on website Seek feedback and member assistance; skills in copy editing and writing or any marketing-related skill sets. Make message engaging to community; call for committee members on the website; total of 4 members so far. Lawrence – event committee is leading a fall celebration (coordinate); offer his small business copy machine for assistance. Outreach has budgeted $$ for fall celebration. Nick – will help the board if you can communicate with us; we can help reach out/coordinate with this endeavor especially in the summer. Molly - Education can help/will liaison with this effort.
FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATIONS (Sean) Asks membership to approve $250 a month for six months to retain CPA for staff training to get bookkeeping current / financial statements for possible Park Slope Food Coop loan: - Meet with the accountant a certain number of times per month (to be negotiated) - QuickBooks bookkeeping software pointers - Training to manage the people and the process; a knowledge base and manual for working with our line of business. Al - $1,500 for 6 months, is that sufficient? Christina, don’t want to overspend our budget. DK – vote of confidence for Sean, Christina and Jeff. Membership all in favor; board in favor. Board approves $1,500 for six months for staff training.
Questions about communication of Co-op finances: Full financial info available in a binder at the store; no financial info on the website. Safety of our financial health. Governance committee, large concern about transparency; people will not come into the store and say “let us see the binder” By comparison, the Park Slope Food Coop – do not post info directly on the website; available on the Linewaiters Gazette which is on the website. Paper financial info is available at all member meetings and in the store. Al – key factor is transparency. Sean – sales should be posted in a visible chart at the store. Christina – not sure if we will be able to resolve this conversation tonight; Table until September GM.
MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE RECOMMENDATION Nick: Non-working members in 2013 Since March 2013, 505 members have zero hours, 153 members have not worked in 2013 Board letter – has had some impact, but not sure if this is enough. Suggestion: put 153 on general leave; ramifications of putting them on leave; some people may ask for their $$ back, which is not very helpful right now. General leave: no shopping and no working; must make up two shifts before they can shop again. Sara – send out an advance notice; get the people back in the fold. Zero hours – you cannot shop until you speak with the membership desk. Set up a requirement for these folks to shop; often the check in desk is too lenient. Al – dealing with real or fantasy numbers; why do anything with them as long as we know that we are down 160 for managing the operation? Nick – lots of folks who joined the coop but never worked; it’s an administrative nightmare to manage this group. DK – how many people haven’t working in the past 4 months; Nick – approximately 340 who haven’t worked. Nick – some members in bad standing never get back into good standing; instead of having low hours and being allowed to shop, keep them sidelined until they make up the time. Final suggestion: move people with low/zero hours to a special status, will be invisible outside of membership.
BOARD LETTER – General comments from members Well-written; nice tone of transparency, honesty. Wake-up call that members need. Great letter; feedback on shift, but not sure if the message resonates with non-working members. DK – a “come to Jesus” moment for members have strayed from the coop. Christina – we need more people to work regularly; the letter will communicate that this is an endemic problem. Park Slope has this problem but no concern b/c they can keep filling the shifts. Allison – letter was a call to arms, but maybe to 20 people. It was good but out of 1,200 members this is not impressive. Try to be optimistic but want to tell members that they should do more then their 2 hours. Sara – as letter was only in e-mail, perhaps a hard copy would have had more impact. Nick – planning to do e-mail and mailing for the Carrot situation; from the e-mail, 400 folks opened it from the 1,200 who it was sent to. Al – regular workers; only person from his shift; Alison, people regularly drop their shifts an hour before it’s scheduled DK – send a letter to those folks who are not participating; Nick’s systems allow us a granular approach to enticing members. Christina: letter was a bit soft, and in opposition to Park Slope we are not as punitive; GHFC has to be somewhere in the middle. Marissa – how often are people not showing up for their shifts? Allison, we are struggling every day for at least one shift; could be a summer related phenomenon. We miss 2 to 3 deliveries per month because of members skipping shifts. Park Slope – offering additional support; they will create an additional “F-Top” ship to have more of their labor to help with our shifts on Fridays for as long as needed. Lawrence – merchandising, over-ordering on too many items as a response to cutting down on deliveries; merchandizing Christina – less deliveries are not the issue; concern about the floaters who are not contributing. Member – not another letter; look to merchandising committee to rework the message. Sara – communicating the same ideas in a more concise format. Nick – have a member to update the member handbook; will be available on the website.
STORE CONSTRUCTION UPDATE: Lawrence April knows most current; contractor fulfilled the scope of work under budget with no carting fees. Construction is mostly done – there’s a lingering lighting issue in the expansion space, should be done shortly. Store is not yet 100% secure, but having Jorge—a regular handyman—will be a great boon. Al – how close are we to “nirvana” (no rats)? – Lawrence not there yet but close as long as openings are sealed. Nick – construction was on time/no major issues/under budget Christina – by far the most successful undertaking of the GHFC Nick – who’s taking the lead on smaller jobs to finalize the work? Lawrence; anyone from Design/Build to facilitate this; Cale (?) is a member who will handle maintenance; he could be a call person. Perhaps identify a shift leader who can be responsible. Nick; get $ for this final round of punch list items. DK - Enesteo is charging for rat control now but once we are done will not be charged. Sean – how do we stand in compliance with fire codes? Lawrence one story building, no need to fireproof further; exits are fine. Lawrence – allocate $500 to Jorge/handyman close the final gaps for the project. Board approves $500 to complete the project.
OPEN FORUM: Lawrence – use expansion to have a better vision for the coop; use the space now! Will increase sales and impression of the coop. The space is enormous and should be our store; let’s not wait. We don’t need that much $$ to make the space usable. Cosmo – if people see that things are going to get better then they’ll want to join/get involved; paint a better picture. DK – drawing for the future is a positive message; aspirational – put the architectural design in the newsletter
ELECTION: Al – Governance wants to remind you there are three board slots open; one is a 1-year term and two are 3-year terms. Members are welcome to apply for these positions; contact Giselle Sperber at firstname.lastname@example.org
Members will be encouraged to vote electronically and a website will go live a week before the September GM. All officers (President, Vice-President, Treasurer and Secretary) are up for annual renewal in October. For more information contact Giselle or Al at email@example.com
The next GM will be held Thursday, September 26, 7-9pm, South Oxford Space, 80 South Oxford St.