August 22, 2012 – Congrats to the new Board – I lost by 16 votes.
Here’s the candidate statement I would have given if there’d been time last night at the annual all-member meeting & party – we got 14 candidates for four seats – yowza! so no time for each of us to make a statement. Best of luck to all my fellow candidates!
Hello, friends, neighbors, WSGC Co-op Member-Owners – Back in the spring, I told a friend of mine – someone I’ve known for 20 years – that I was thinking about running for re-election to the food co-op BoD. She knows how long I’ve been on the Board – 7 years, since 2005 – and how long I’ve lived in Madison – almost 30 years – and she said, “oh, you have to run – you’re the institutional memory”.
I thought about that for awhile, because somehow I didn’t like the idea of running on the institutional memory ticket. I realized that it was because even though both the co-op and I are getting older – the co-op’s getting on for 40, and I’m even older than that (just not saying how much 😉 – I don’t want to be the Board member who’s afraid of change and trying new things, always being the one in the meeting saying, “well, back in the day, we did it like this ….”
The biggest change that’s happened since I’ve been on the Board is that the co-op’s gotten bigger. Willy Street’s grown to three locations, 1221 Willy St. and Middleton stores, and the offsite kitchen. The membership has almost doubled, from about 16,000 in 2005 to just a breath away from 30,000 now. This fiscal year the co-op grossed around $34 million, compared to under $20 million in 2005. Even though I – like probably others of you – have had some worries about the co-op changing as it grows, I would not advocate for going back. I really appreciate the benefits that Willy St. as a big organization can provide to members and the community: supporting neighborhood festivals, like this one we’re at – the Fête de Marquette, the Waterfront festival and the Willy Street Fair; vendor loans to farmers; grants to community organizations; and close to 300 good jobs, recognized as one of the best places to work in Madison. Not to mention simply doing more of all the things we love the co-op for – like providing fresh, local, and organic foods at reasonable prices.
Willy Street Co-op is us, the almost 30,000 member owners. Even though I’ve said I’m not running on the old-fogey-stick-in-the-mud ticket, what I remember and want all of us to remember is that no matter how big the co-op gets, each individual is still just as important. And if elected, I do promise to remember the good things we’ve done, as well as where we’ve screwed up, to make sure that the good things keep happening into the future!