Tuesday, May 9, 2017
ANNUAL OWNERS MEETING
Deep Roots Cooperative held its Annual Owners Meeting in the parking lot on Saturday, May 6. Close to 60 people braved the cool, windy day to attend. Kevin Dollar and friends provided some great music. All the owners in attendance received an item-packed gift bag, a free buffet lunch, and a 15% off coupon for a shopping trip!
Here are some report highlights:
• 2016 was a difficult, tumultuous year for Deep Roots. It included the departure of our former General Manager in October, with many key positions unfilled. Also, 5 of 9 Directors resigned effective the end of December, bringing a time of limbo and transition as the remaining Directors reorganized. The former GM left the books in poor shape; it’s taken tremendous resources to get the books straightened out and up to date, a process just being completed.
• We registered a net loss in 2016; sales were just over $4 million, virtually the same as 2015. We were showing small growth until the Greenway Construction begun in front of the store during October. Since construction began in October business has been down close to 10%. We are now in the 7th month of being severely impacted by street work and restricted access. We continue to be impacted by other street work projects on adjoining streets. Cash is extremely tight. There has also been a 10% drop in sales since the closing of the N. Eugene Street section in front of the baseball stadium.
• Nicole Villano was hired as Interim General Manager, beginning February 1. While learning the IGM position, she's also taken on managing the Grocery Department as well as Marketing. The Board and Staff feel she is doing a tremendous job under difficult circumstances. She has increased outreach and promotional activities, and is working with staff to improve all around Customer Service.
• Our Community Room continues to provide a valuable community service. 48 different groups have already made use of it just this year! We offer its use for free.
~ There are over 90 local vendors that we purchase from! In this way Deep Roots continues to be a hub of the local food economy.
• The bottom line is we need more business and cash. There was discussion around these topics and many excellent suggestions. Attendees expressed support for a one time voluntary donation by our Owners to provide needed cash. There was also wide support for dropping the Quarterly Owner Appreciation discount, at least until finances can support it. No decisions have been made along these lines – the Board is looking at options and seeking Owner input.
• Nicole spoke about possibly changing our discounts to be reward-based for taking part in Co-Op activities and events. Attendees at this meeting received a variety of goodies, as mentioned earlier. She also reported that the Co-op is constantly on the lookout for vendor deals to keep prices down, and is stocking more Field Day items. Field Day is a high quality, lower cost line of goods only available at participating Co-Ops.
• There recently have been positive changes in the store. Many more initiatives are in the works, but implementation is limited by lack of cash. WE APPRECIATE AND NEED YOUR BUSINESS! Please shop at your Co-Op!
Joel Landau, President, Board of Directors