Rachel Dakarian, Board President

On behalf of the Wheatsfield Board of Directors, I am happy to report that we are in the final phase of the expansion project! Spring follows on the heels of Wheatfield’s successful grand re-opening event, which took place on Saturday, February 25, 2017. We reached our highest ever daily sales that Saturday and hit a new record with 1,277 customers in the store!

A critical factor in the success of the expansion has been the support of our loyal membership. Member financing has played a major role in the Co-op’s ability to remain nimble throughout various stages of the project. Our current member financing campaign will remain open until April 30, 2017. At the time of my writing, we have already reached our initial goal of $350,000, with $382,000 in member-loans and preferred shares to date!

Success can be defined in many different ways. Recently, I was struck by a particular passage in an article from Cooperative Grocer magazine (Jan-Feb 2017 issue, Striking the Balance for Co-op Success by Mark Goehring and Rebecca Torpie): “If we think about the co-op as a place that reflects and acts on the values of its owners and works toward ends based on those values, then it’s critical that the co-op provide ways that owners can share in the accomplishment of those goals.”

This quote articulates the values guiding the work of the Board, particularly member financing. We want member-owners to share in the accomplishment. The article continues: “When a co-op has an engaged membership that has a strong, positive relationship with the co-op and management runs the business well, it has struck the delicate balance required for a successful co-op …”

A well-run business and an engaged membership are equally essential. Ensuring a positive relationship with the co-op has informed our approach to member-financing. It is exciting to offer our members the opportunity to invest (and in many cases, re-invest) in the co-op and receive such a strong response!

After we close the offering at the end of April, we plan to organize an annual member-lender dinner similar in format to our Annual Meeting of the Members. These meetings will serve as informational venues for member lenders to receive financial updates by the Board and Management along with a delicious meal from our new Deli Kitchen.

Thank you to all participating member-owners for your investment! The skill of our staff, the engagement of our members, and the support of our community all contribute to our continued success. The Wheatsfield Board looks forward to many more milestones ahead!