Building a Co-op is no small endeavor. Given that it typically takes 3-5 years to establish a co-op, I’m reminded of that fact every time I look at all of our activity over the past 4 years!
So, if you wonder what that includes, the following is just some of that activity: Staffing a Mini Market, holding events for the community with the help of our trained co-op volunteers, attending community events throughout the Southtowns, building our member-ownership to nearly 800, holding two Annual Meetings and one election, refining our pro forma and negotiating various potential sites in East Aurora. Of equal importance, we’ve been building the board and learning Policy Governance. This refers to the “rules” and “regulations” that our future general manager will need to rely on to be successful. In addition, we have been holding day-long retreats with industry experts, attending educational conferences, communicating via this e-newsletter, Facebook, our website and our blog; reading, learning, talking (and walking) the talk. All day, every day.
Our experts have told us that we are right on target with our goals. As the current Project Manager and Co-Founder, I speak for all the Board Members who have spent countless volunteer hours so far, in saying that we agree with our consultants that to sustain a 2 million dollar co-op, the foundation had better be solid. Building that foundation takes time. No one knows that more than those who have been working on this project since its conception.
As member-owners, you are an integral part of creating the foundation’s strength and sustainability and you have a true stake in the outcome. Given the co-op’s organizational structure, we must be willing to proceed with caution and understand that decisions aren’t based on one indvidual’s opinion as is the case with most private businesses. I must recieve approval from the Board for any major decisions regarding the co-op and I am working with six committees to get the job done. The reality of this is that the process takes time.
As members, you’re also fellow owners – participating in the building of the foundation of the co-op is a key ingredient to our success and hope you take it as seriously as the Board and I do by voting and volunteering. We’re in this together. Let’s get ‘er done!