Happy January 2016!
Your OFC board spent a full day plus in deep strategic planning on January 17th and 18th to create a strong plan to keep our momentum building. We were joined by Food Co-op Initiative’s Jacqueline Hannah, Food Co-op Development Specialist to facilitate. Jacqueline’s role is to work with start-ups to offer support, guidance, and resources. Here’s what she had to say: “It’s the best feeling when you are sincerely impressed by a startup’s leadership and by the potential of their community!” High praise from someone who spends a lot of time with startups around the country!
Main points of our day:
1. Often we hear: “Why is it taking so long?” Jacqueline described how when conventional grocery stores announce they are moving to a community, a store opens in about 6 months – but what you aren’t told is that they have been working, behind the scenes, for *years* before that announcement is made. The difference with Co-ops is that you may have heard about this project *from the very beginning* - which is great, because Co-ops strive to be transparent in our communications. But it does make the wait seem longer because you are more aware of the full process and each step that has to happen to make the store a reality.
2. Reviewing and understanding the development stages of a Co-op; where our Co-op planning is and what comes next. We created a detailed timeline to guide our work.
3. Given the solid work of the board so far, taking into consideration current competition and markets, and reviewing our previous projections for sales, it is VERY POSSIBLE to make this project successful and open a Co-op here in Oshkosh.
4. Understanding that opening this Co-op will take a community effort and how we can help bring that forward.
5. Learning from other start-ups and successful co-ops, so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel – our job is to make it right for Oshkosh!
And here we are during our meeting
(Consultant Jacqueline Hannah is standing to the right of the screen.)
It’s serious work to open a Co-op, but our meeting included laughter, thoughtful conversation and some detailed planning to keep us on track to open a store here in Oshkosh.
As we move towards 300 Member-Owners we will be in touch with the financial experts who specialize in Co-operative start-ups like ours, to help conduct the crucial financial analysis. This may not sound important, but this step will ready us to develop our business plan and have the data we need to meet with lenders and work with owners to secure loans down the road as we take one more step towards getting the doors open.
Volunteer Opportunity: Hang up Pull Tab Posters!
We are finalizing our flyer to increase awareness about the Co-op around all sections of Oshkosh. Would you be willing to hang a few flyers in your neck of the woods? Getting this information out to all of Oshkosh is an important step in building awareness and membership! We will be adding this flyer to our website soon so you can print a few to hang! We will send an email when the flyer is ready!
Volunteer Project: Mentoring at the Farmer’s Market!
Summer Farmer Market plans are already underway! Are you interested in sharing information about the Co-op and signing up new Member-Owners? You would be paired with an experienced board member to learn how – everything’s more fun in pairs! Email us to let us know you are interested and we will match you up with a board member who will be in touch with details. [email protected]
Board applications have been received!
Thank you to all who submitted a board member application. We were delighted by the number of folks who came forward to express interest. Applications will be reviewed by the first board meeting in February. Bylaws allow the board to appoint a new member to finish out the term of a board member who has left the board. We will notifiy the applicants and keep all applications on file for those who applied.
2016 is going to be a year of immense progress and work as we keep this project on track. We will be reaching out to you, our community – the Member-Owners of the Co-op – for your support, insights, and help. As you think about the possibilities and promise of 2016, think also about how you will help take concrete steps to grow membership, spread the word, and help us get closer to opening the doors.
We can’t do this without you – because Co-ops are all about doing it together! See the progress we made in 2015! Let's keep it going!
Wishing you an amazing 2016,
Kelly on behalf of the Oshkosh Food Co-op board