First and foremost, I want to thank everyone here and every owner-member for helping to create a wonderful, powerful food Co-op and economic engine. Over the course of the last few months I had the chance to stop in over 15 food co-ops around the country. People at every co-op knew who we were and what is happening here.
Before I go further I want to acknowledge the staff at the Co-op. Many of our Co-op’s hard working staff endured a particularly rough year in 2010-2011. Personal tragedy, severe illness and house fire are a few examples. Not surprisingly, our community showed overwhelming support. Thank you! I want to also acknowledge the commitment it takes within the Co-op to help our folks through these tough times; creating a meaningful benefits package, the teamwork it takes to hold job positions in extended absences, and generous service to each other.
Now, here is a brief list of what happened over the year.
Last fall we held our 15th Anniversary Celebration which was a huge success. Approximately 1300 people attended and we served 800 free meals. From all reports it was well received.
The Board accomplished an owner-member survey in Oct 2010 and we learned what was important to you. The survey reports the top factors owners consider when deciding where to shop; 1) the quality/freshness of the products, 2) the availability of organic, 3) local food, and 4) product selection and variety.
During the year we were approached by the Pine River Food Cooperative in Richland Center to consider taking over their operations. After approval to investigate by our owner-members, we looked very hard at the opportunity. In the end we decided that we were not ready to take on this project. Our calculations indicated that it would have cost approximately $100,000 during the first 18 months to take over Pine River. We wish Pine River success as they evolve and we continue to support their efforts.
With 2789 members and over $5 million in sales we are a powerful economic engine in this region. It is time to plan strategically for the future. The Board will be engaging owner-members in that discussion. We want to replicate our success and make our region more independent and resilient!
Again, thank you for making the VFC a shining star.
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