Board Meeting Notes 07/26/17

Working Board Meeting AgendaWednesday, July 26th,  7:00 - 9:00 pm The Co-op: 18 Putnam Ave, Brooklyn Facilitator:     Chris Gollmar Note-taker:    Matthew Talmage Note-takers - please see link to secretary responsibilities.       Timekeeper:  DK Holland

Directors Present: Chris Gollmar, Cecile Arnaud-Gbongbro-, Lauryl Berger-Chun (ex-officio) Directors Absent: Christina LeMoine, Christina Traverse

Others in attendance: Murray Cox co-chair business strategy committee at CBFC, DK Holland, Sapana; arrived later and further introductions for Amanda coming back to GHFC after 1 year maternity leave and manager at Bushwick Food Coop, Anthonine Pierre CBFC member, Caitlin (cousin of Anthonine), Mark Winston Griffith CBFC director, Lexie Aliotti

Any person attending may participate equally in discussions, but only Co-op members/owners may vote on any issues. Member/owners may receive work credit if they attend (allotted 1 time a year).

Next General Meeting is _August 23rd  2017 at the store. Want to be a facilitator, secretary, timekeeper or to propose items for a future GM agenda. Please email (work credit always allotted)

Welcome/Orientation  7:00-7:05 (5 min)

Welcome and introductions. Brief explanation of the purpose of the Board Meeting. Questions welcomed!

Consent Agenda  7:05-7:20 (15 mins)

A collective vote on decisions that have already been made or that don’t generally require/solicit discussion. Attendees can pull out any item they would like more discussion on, and this item will be moved to discussion at the end of the meeting. Information on all consent agenda item votes will be circulated in advance of the meeting.

  • Link to minutes(needed)  from previous Board meeting  
  • Minutes approved from last meeting

1. Store Coordinator Update  7:20-7:30 (10_min)

  • There is some confusion about when to use ShiftPlanning and when to use the shift coverage sheet-- shift coverage is for floaters or for those who want to sign-up for a make-up shift. ShiftPlanning is only for those who want to sign up for a re-occurring shift, which happens once every 4 weeks*. Moreover, the google sheet is the most up-to-date document regarding coverage. We have no problem with people signing up 5mins before they come in, but please take a look at the shift to make sure that no one else has already signed up.
  • Weekly bulletin input?
  • Will wait for more member/owners in attendance to solicit feedback
  • Cecile: do you need support in solving confusion?

2. Committee Reports  7:__-_:__ (__min) Add discussions as needed from committees and liaisons below.

if there is nothing to be discussed or decided but a report is needed add at the end of this agenda.

    • Finance: Committee chair Bianca Orlando, Liaison Christopher Gollmar
    • Merchandising: Committee chair Sarah Chinn, Liaison Lauryl Bergen-Chun
    • Marketing & Website: Committee chair Ray Jolicoeur, Liaison Chris Gollmar
      • SquareSpace transition:
    • Outreach: Committee chair vacant, Liaison Christopher Gollmar
      • Jill has officially stepped down as chair
      • Members want outreach and inreach
    • Membership: Committee chair ?, Liaison Cecile Arnaud
    • Investment: Committee chair Renee B, Liaison Cecile Arnaud
      • 21 on priority (most of which are from 2014/2015 so not really that priority anymore i guess
      • 283 on our normal redemption list
      • Been redeeming one investment per month due to dire situation, 2 ppl this year have donated their investments
      • I’m hoping this lease situation will be settled this month, as in we know if we’re moving to the Nostrand location or not.  After which I will send a letter (after we publicly announce the move to our current member/owners) to all on our redemption list announcing this move and the continuing moratorium due to it and it’s costs. I will not offer any dire situation requests.  
      • It need not be said that this move will create a flurry of investment requests (and simultaneously some past members may come back due to the new location)….twill be fun! :)
    • IT: Committee chair Misha Avrekh, Liaison Cecile Arnaud
    • Governance: Committee chair ?, Liaison Christina LeMoine
    • Operations: Committee chair Penelope August?, Liaison ?
    • HR: Committee chair Megan Curran, Liaison Christina LeMoine

3. Committee Asks and Gives  8:__- _:__ (10mins) (Committee Chairs and Liaisons)

Committees asks for help or support / others give below:

4. AGENDA - free flowing and aspirational discussions

  • Current lease update for 18 Putnam:
    • DK Holland: 3.5 years left on our lease, but owner wanting to sell building and have us leave. Efforts to prepare for a move began. Rent checks were returned since June of 2016, but now cashing checks since June 2017. Owners say no longer pursuing the case. Hard to believe so continuing to look for new location. DLA Piper are our pro bono lawyers and doing a fine job.
  • NOSTRAND LOCATION: will show progression of offers and counter offers to current (and what we’re being told) is a final offer.
    • The broker for the Nostrand space is referring to the last numbers we got from them as the final offer
    • Matthew walked us through the progression of negotiations with the broker and owner of the Nostrand space
    • Total rent plus our share of taxes would be $5200/mo.
    • Matthew is working on getting more SCs and design/build into the space
      • Look at floors, stairs -- where would storage go?
      • Lexie measured our equipment and can do a fit test -- can own the fit test (by Saturday)
      • Lara Caballero can also draw up a plan for where things could be placed
      • Penelope has been gathering some information about moving expenses
      • Broker wants an answer by the end of the week
        • Cecile: we won’t be able to run things by the membership, get approval by then
        • Matthew: they’ve been very patient with us so far; will keep up communications
    • Because we have some meeting attendees that have not been part of past discussions about the Nostrand space, Matthew gave a description of the storefront

Central Brooklyn Food Co-op Discussion

- Chris welcomes CBFC members. It feels that decisions with Brokers and landlords need to happen fast, yet we’re a coop that demands consensus. Once a lease is signed, it will change the nature of 2 coop collaborations.

- Mark suggests we start with mutual respect; have as open a conversation as possible; we have a sense of things that have been said and not said. Let’s put our cards on the table.

- Cecile: what would it mean to you (CBFC) for us to move to Nostrand? I look forward to working together but understand the enormity of the collaboration. For GHFC to survive, we must move further east. We can’t afford rent in this area anymore.

- Mark: context important: 1) how CBFC got where it is; 2) our mission and purpose;

Relationship between CBFC and GHFC began when DK called and mentioned GHFC thinking of moving (DK and CBFC have a relationship because she helped CBFC get started). Mark’s first reaction: I stiffened: a move of GHFC into their territory was a threat. The two institutions started a dialogue and there was very open conversations. The sense of threat was communicated. Cheyanna Weber, director of CEANYC (Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City) was contacted in order to facilitate discussions.

Brooklyn Movement Center is an organizing body. Geographic and race important aspect. CBFC idea came out of discussions about food equity (was food dessert, now food apartheid). Economics and housing and gentrification are forces we’re working with. Helping black community members of low and moderate income to get power in their food choices.

    We’ve been organizing for 4 years; conscious decision not to just open up a physical location. Model =  NOT build it and people will come, but instead, reaching out to people who might not already be attracted to ideas like food sovereignty and sustainability; reaching out to

lower/moderate income, black; looking to slow down and resist gentrification movement

Hard not to see GHFC relocation in this context of gentrification.

Just the name Greene Hill (if kept as the coop moves further east into Brooklyn) signals that the organization is from another neighborhood. How can this not be seen as just an airbrushed version of this food apartheid? Same people going to Wholesome foods (boutique food store recently opened on the corner of Atlantic and Nostrand, ½ block away from current site considered for relocation--567 Nostrand) would go to GHFC which would dismantle the efforts of CBFC to provide for the community that wouldn’t or couldn’t shop at Wholesome Foods.

At the point that GHFC moves into a new neighborhood, only a few options for cooperation between the two coops are left available.

- Anthonine: agrees with Mark. To answer “what does the conversation mean?” Territorialism of neighborhoods is something very familiar with someone like myself born and bred Brooklyn. Not just a concept, it’s in peoples’ blood and bones. Curious as to what we expect will change in the coop when we move.

- Cecile: no decisions won’t be made without large consensus of members.

- Sapana: we have physical space and CBFC has foundational basis/community outreach. Keep having conversations about structures where we can work together with our internal committees.

- DK: I’ve been here since 1984. A goal is bringing communities together. Maybe a failure on the behalf of GHFC. We’ll never have consensus on the lease, that’s an unrealistic goal. We should get a vote of confidence from the general members to make decisions on the lease.

- Murray: been involved since 2013, started out as photographer to document the project. Went to committee meetings and became aware of challenges of food justice. Did design study on how to integrate a food coop into a community. Aware of GHFC challenges. Compares that with CBFC. Joined because of the great intention. My work with CBFC is as an ally. I recognize that I come from a place of privilege. Respected them addressing issues of low and moderate income community members. Workshops on economic and racial issues. There’s a contrast between GHFC and CBFC. Sees GHFC coming into neighborhood as a threat.

Similar to GHFC moving into a new neighborhood, sees the installation of a Trader Joes or a Wholesome Foods or Whole Foods doesn’t solve problem of food inequities.

Realistically, sees big challenges with people not wanting to shop in a place where they don’t see their fellow community members shopping.

- Lauryl: not loyal to any one coop. Totally agrees with Murray. We shouldn’t move. The process is already backward. Transformation on part of GHFC mentioned but doesn’t see it happening. Communication: GHFC seems like there is, but not really. If this place needs to close, fine by me. Vague language about inclusivity but no resources dedicated to it. Money for organizing? None. Intent and efforts have not been fruitful in outcome. In May, Store Coordinators thinking of the move. Sent letter to committee laying out their specifics on what works and what won’t.

- Chris: what Lauryl said resonates with me. One option is to take what we have and support CBFC. What does it look like if we closed? From a financial perspective, can we close? There are limitations. A conversation needs to be had.

- Sapana: A GHFC member owner said we need leadership and the CBFC has it.

- Mark: PSFC is going through with plans of opening up another location at least setting up an 18 month exploratory group. They’ve reached out to CBFC. They could open up anywhere and all neighborhoods are on the table. We need to leverage the conversation. End of day, conversations need to respect each other and recognize leadership and power. Having alliance of CBFC and GHFC does not insure equity. Low and moderate constituency needs to be part of leadership. Power has to be part of conversation.

- Amanda: on periphery the last year. Idea of GHFC closing and giving assets to support CBFC is a good plan. No coop in Brooklyn has been successful without a great real estate deal. PSFC had that; Bushwick Coop had that; GHFC had that. Difficulty for CBFC is getting capital to start up. I now shop GHFC for the milk. Doesn’t know how sustainable GHFC will be paying more rent in new area. We could spend lots of money and effort and wind up just closing in a year or two.

- Mark: how big impact for GHFC to pay higher rent?

- DK: rent is not the biggest expense. The only way I see us moving is by integrating with CBFC. For people to believe we’re part of the gentrification movement would be awful.

- Lexi: somewhat new to Coop and new to being involved in deeper level. Disappointed to hear that people are willing to let the project go. Makes me think about other members not aware of these important decisions. Are members aware of importance of aspects of Coop outside of food? Are added value aspects of the coop ever asked of members? People maybe more involved if they are aware of the added value.

- Mark: What’s the added for you?

- Lexie: community involvement; a physical heart and soul to this location.

- Cecile: when I moved to NY was made aware of PSFC and thought it was great. It was something respectful and organic where I wasn’t aggressively marketed to; demanding more $$ from me. When GHFC opened, I felt like it was my time to devote time and effort to the same kind of cooperative project. Experience of sustaining myself in a community. To move into Crown Heights and keep GHFC name seems very weird. Being a board member helps me see the shortcomings that are mentioned. I really respect, coming from abroad, the invitation to stay in this country and this community. After seeing and experiencing negative forces of gentrification myself, hard to imagine how much more a local New Yorker would experience feeling/ be impacted.

- Amanda: would be sad to see GHFC go under. Would be happy to see this not end in nothing. Respect the time and effort of all put into project from members to employees.

- Mark: appreciates the vulnerability expressed. It is a hard thing to run coop. Important to think of the value. As non-profits get going they can lose sight of what started the whole process. Point is not just to exist, but to what end. Important to have strong energy support a neighborhood effort fighting the trends of gentrification. We (everyone in the room) have the potential to do that.

- Cecile: a way to merge that would help that fight?; creating more sovereignty and food justice? Why isn’t PSFC supporting?...why so many tribes?

- Mark: PSFC thinking: have supported other coops because they can’t absorb anymore coop members and that experiment failed. What they’re doing now is opening another location themselves. There is something valuable in what we’ve done. We’re all one strong wind from going down. Recognize GHFC’s 6 years surviving. The value of CBFC strength is their base; organizing and bringing people in who might need convincing is difficult. We have to create a food coop that does something nothing else can do: low prices and SOMETHING else. Regarding PSFC: they will do whatever they want to do. If CBFC gets their shit together, PSFC would not need to move into their neighborhood.

- Chris: Board needs conversation to make sure on same page and figure out how to move forward with conversation between CBFC and GHFC.

- Mark: CBFC will be ready for pursuing a physical space by end of next year; Real estate is a huge question. Borough president: someone who may help us, but not both co-ops

- Murray: look at power, disarm power first

- Mark: starts with CBFC having a solid base/membership; GHFC members can be a part of that as well, as long as the base is intact (look at governance). Once CBFC has established its base, find a way for GHFC to support them and shop

- Murray: maintain CBFC core mission and values; everyone would have to sign on to those

- Lexie: how far do the values carry? (e.g., to vendors?) do the vendors have ownership in that as well? Path for black self-determination in Central Brooklyn; working toward being part of that

Things we didn’t get to:

  • Proposal to change trial membership from 2 months to 1 month and highly recommend orientation.
  • Preliminary results from summer shopping survey
  • Clarify schedule of upcoming meetings
    • Which upcoming meetings will be Working Board Meetings, and which will be General Meetings?
    • Will we hold an August meeting?
    • Confirm September Annual Meeting
    • What preparation needs to take place for September Annual Meeting?

5. Bike Rack  8:00___ (10mins) (Notetaker)


Closing  8:55 - 9:00 (5 min) Board reviews votes at the end of each Meeting

Reports in writing:

Membership and Finance Report

  • Monthly membership report (link)

Summary of report:

Current number of working members: 515

Number of new members and deactivated in June: 10 new members,  

4 reactivated members, 12 trial members (previous monthly avg. in 2017: 39 new trial members)

Number of existing members waiting for investment returns: (See notes from investment committee, above)

We’ve seen roughly a 9.6% increase in active members since January.

The Membership committee has deactivated several members who had not paid their full member investment and had not shopped.

  • Monthly finance report  (removed)             

            Summary of report:

June 26 - July 2, 2017 May 29 - June 25, 2017 June 27 - July 3, 2016
NET SALES $35,072 $51,778 $41,030
Transactions 1035 1479 1180
Average transactions $33.75 $34.75 $35.00