How does this project fit into The Food Co-op’s Strategic Plan?

by Owen Rowe, Board Vice President

Creating the Strategic Plan and monitoring the Co-op’s progress toward our goals is one of the Board’s main jobs. We’re so committed to it that (unlike most co-ops) we’ve baked our Strategic Plan goals right into our organizational policies, the operational “Ends” which the General Manager is accountable for achieving. It’s the core description of how we do business.

A Strategic Plan is the step below an organization’s Mission and Vision: it talks about specific goals for various aspects of the organization, and strategies to achieve those goals in a specified amount of time. The Food Co-op created its current Strategic Plan to cover 2013-2017, so this year we are reviewing and renewing it for the next five years.

Our current Strategic Plan has five main goals. Overall, we’ve been very happy with our progress toward goals in each of these areas, so the 2018-2022 Strategic Plan will represent small course corrections, not major shifts. We’ll be making those updates at Board meetings and member-owner events over the course of 2017. Stay tuned to the Co-op website and the Board’s Board in the store to learn about how you can contribute your ideas!

As for the expansion project…. Back in 2012, we were only able to talk vaguely about wanting to “improve facilities.” Now, the expansion project is turning those wishes and hopes into reality. As I said, our current Strategic Plan has five main goals—and the expansion project furthers all of them:

  • The expansion will strengthen our market position by increasing our physical capacity to serve the market for organic and healthy food in Port Townsend.

  • It supports the ongoing development of our local food systems by expanding our space for existing and new agricultural products from the area, and supporting potential initiatives in wholesale and institutional sales.

  • The expansion will, quite literally, build internal capacity and provide a safer environment for Co-op employees.

  • Our expanded building will be more efficient, and will be built using environmentallysustainable materials and processes whenever feasible.

  • The expansion’s effect on our education, outreach, and advocacy programs is less direct, but it will result in a stronger Co-op positioned to lead in our community and economy.

The expansion is a major milestone on our 2013-2017 Strategic Plan. We’re not just building an addition to the store. We’re building a foundation for the next five years of serving our member-owners and our community!

What is the job of the Board during an expansion?

by Marty Canaday, Board Member (Posted January 26, 2017)

It is indeed curious to figure what the job of a board is. How many know what the Board does anyway? If they aren’t actually running the store, do they have a job in the expansion at all? To answer one, I answer both. Let’s talk about the Board briefly.

The Board works on the overall vision and goals of our Co-op. Our part is to set the store’s rules for the game, you might say. We make sure that the interests of our member-owners are represented as well as possible. We all have expectations of the Co-op overall: organic foods, local producers, fair trade, and much more. We also need to look to the future of the Co-op, including future growth needs. This brings us to the Board’s role in the expansion.

The Board’s job in three parts is: 1) Be sure we are in agreement about the needs and goals of the Coop and move that direction. 2) When a key decision is faced, the Board comes together to make it. 3) We keep our member-owners up to date with information, and give you opportunities to express your thoughts regarding the Co-op’s expansion.

So, just how do we achieve the goals of the Co-op in an expansion? Teamwork! We partner with the general manager and look at the vision of our Co-op as set in the Ends of our Strategic Plan. (This is available to you; ask at Member Services.) By the way, you yourself can be involved in our work. Keep up to date at the Board’s board at the front of the store, and keep reading our blog!

Let’s talk key decisions. For the Board, a key decision regarding the expansion was to stay here or move? Stay and expand was most feasible. Where and how will we pay for this expansion? We look at new information as it comes available, discuss options, find answers, work through concerns. Again, we are your elected voice, we make sure the interests of the Co-op and its member-owners are safe.

Finally, you, the Member-Owner. You want to know what’s going to happen. You want to know your investment is safe. You want to know you can still get your food, drinks, and supplies from us. We love sharing information! Read the Commons, keep up with this blog, visit the Board in the alcove, and come to forums! Drop in to a Board meeting, or check out Member Services for what you can read, and where you can comment on your next visit.

You are the reason we are here! Stay tuned, and let us know your thoughts.

We’re Staying!

by Board Secretary Lisa Barclay  November 2nd, 2016

We Love Our Location

After exploring our options in town, we have chosen to stay where we are and invest our resources in making it the best store possible. We’ve spent the last two years researching the various options available to us as well as listening to the desires and needs of our members for their Co-op’s facilities, and the advantages our current location offers, plus financial considerations, and member preference, has led us to conclude that we should take our great little store and remodel it to make it even better.

Modest Expansion for Big Results

It will not be a huge expansion—with the constraints of our property, we can grow relatively little. But a small increase in size combined with rearranging the layout will make our store more comfortable and usable for both members and staff. We’re very excited to see what PJ Hoffman—a long-time designer of co-op grocery stores—will be able to suggest for our rather quirky space. When we first moved into the old bowling alley, it seemed like so much room we didn’t have to plan too carefully what would go where. But now that every inch counts, we’ll be rethinking everything in order to come up with the best layout.

Remind Me—Why Are We Remodeling?

Yes, it’s been awhile since we started this process, so some of the reasons may seem a bit hazy. The store, as I said, began life as a bowling alley, and since then, we’ve been adding a bit here and improving a little there, but we haven’t been able to do a thorough fix. In the meantime, we’ve grown to a store of 6500 members and $14 million a year in sales. We’re squeezed, as you probably notice when you shop at a busy time of day. In addition, the back rooms, which were simply carved out of the original space by adding a few walls, are too crowded and not functional, which adds tremendously to the work load and costs.

What to Expect

Over the next year, we’ll be planning the remodel, arranging financing (and you’ll get a chance to invest in your community grocery), hiring contractors, etc., and then begin the work, probably next summer. We plan to keep the store open throughout the project, but there will be disruptions, so we ask you to bear with us and support the staff in what will certainly be a possibly stressful but exciting time.