2012 ANNUAL MEETING
Wednesday May 09, 6pm, Co-op Meeting Room 309
- ELECTION RESULTS (3 Board positions) : Tom Theisen and Steve Bluhm were re-elected, NancyLee Bouscher was elected as the Staff Board Member
The following short address to owners was given by Tom Theisen, Board President:
WELCOME to the 2012 Skagit Valley Food Co-op Annual Meeting. As the current 7 members of the Board of Trustees, it is our privilege to serve the SV Food Co-op and [we are] proud to provide you with this annual update on leadership, success, growth and aspirations for the future.
LEADERSHIP. The Board has taken steps to “self educate” with topics pertinent to the global issues having direct or indirect effect upon our cooperative world. Each Board member has selected a topic to research and present to the Board and General Manager. Topics presented to date are: Peak Oil, Urban Agriculture, Financial Analysis and Global Climate Change. Yet to come are presentations on Food Sustainability, Leadership and Effective Legal Strategies for Preserving Local Agriculture.
VISIONING. An ad hoc committee has instigated a “visioning” process; exploring the possibilities of the Co-op in 2020. The committee invited 15 members of our Co-op community to participate with the Board and General Manager in an evening of visioning facilitated by Board of Trustees member Kristen Ekstran. The evening was enjoyable and quite successful in generating ideas and the committee is now synthesizing the results into a draft for further review and commentary. A formal vision statement will be prepared and presented to our membership by year’s end.
2011 ACCOMPLISHMENTS. Facilities: The year was a busy one with several, major facility upgrades including a new kitchen, a new scullery, a greatly enhanced meat counter and several major equipment replacements. Upgrading our facilities has continued into 2012 with major gut-and-remodel of our ground floor bathrooms.
PATRONAGE REFUNDS. Included in the Board’s revisions to the Bylaws in 2010, were provisions for patronage refunds. This then gave us the avenue to evaluate the year financially and determine that it was indeed appropriate and so we were able to provide refunds to our Owner/Members in 2011 in the amount of $145,000. And, we are proud to report that the Board has authorized the release of Patronage Refunds for 2011 in a similar amount that will be distributed later in the year.
TREASURER’S REPORT. Sales continued to grow steadily over the course of the year, up 8% for the year, we grossed $13.8 million. Employee expenses were up 10.5%. Net profit margin was down slightly at 4.8% compared to last year. Current Assets/Liabilities are at 9.0 We have no long term debt, even after the remodels. All financial indicators confirm that the Co-op is a strong, sustainable business. Patronage refunds in the amount of $145,000 will go out later in the year.
A FEW WORDS FROM OUR GENERAL MANAGER, TODD WOOD. 2011 was another good year for the Co-op. So many new faces and so much support and enthusiasm for what we do here at the Co-op. Not only did our sales grow by almost 8.5%, our owner-member ranks swelled by over 10%. The reasons behind our growth, and the growth in our industry, are many – most of which are aptly stated in the Co-op’s Mission Statement (circa 1973):
- Maintaining the not-for-profit status of the Co-op: the Co-op isn’t an opportunistic organization, it’s a community institution. What we make either gets returned to the owners, or, reinvested into the Co-op…and thereby into the community.
- Offering high quality products which contribute to good nutrition: on various levels people have known for years that a lot of questionable stuff passes for “food”. They are also seeing that no one else is protecting their health, and realizing that they need to play an active role in maintaining the health of their families and themselves.
- Supporting low impact, non-harmful approach to the environment: we are overwhelmed by fears of global warming and other environmental calamities, and don’t see any action on the political front. We care, and the Co-op offers us an opportunity to take positive action.
- Supporting local suppliers and producers: food sustainability, food security and peak oil: terms that were rarely heard ten years ago but now seem to come up at any dinner party.
- A commitment to building a co-operative economy and supporting others who share that commitment: whether it’s occupying Wall Street or supporting a co-op, people are reacting to the greed and corruption that dominates corporate America.
- A commitment to educational programs relevant to members and non-members in the community: issues-opportunities-change…as much as you want it, there can be an awful lot to learn. The Co-op is a great resource.
These are great qualities -contributions- that any Co-op owner should be proud of. These are also qualities that mega-corporations are trying to convince you that they have as well. Perhaps they will make some positive changes in those directions. Perhaps they will conduct business pretty much as usual, just wrapped in a different package. Unfortunately I am skeptical of seeing any pledge to real change. Instead we are seeing repeated attempts to weaken much of the good that has been done for the sake of strengthening corporate profits. With the Obama Administration being in the pocket of corporate interests, it is pretty much up to us to create the world we envision.
We expect a strong year, with sales coming in around $15 million. We are on-trend to gain about 1500 more new owners this year. As is customary, we will maintain our strong financial performance and we will continue to promote, and enhance, the Co-op’s mission. While we may be surrounded by others trying to do what we do, we will continue to set the bar.
Following Tom’s address and Todd’s summary, there was a comment period for owners in attendance, followed by presentations from the following 4%-Friday recipients:
- VIVA Farms
- Mount Vernon Co-op Pre-School Gardens
- Lincoln School Gardens
- Circles and the WV project
Election results are then announced, and the meeting adjourned at approximately 8:30. About 30 owners and staff people attended.