Council - Council News
Monday, 01 July 2013 22:08
By 12th Moon,
Council held our regular monthly meeting on June 11 at 6:30 pm in The Space @ GreenStar, with a lengthy agenda. During announcements I informed Council members and staff present of the high amount of positive feedback we received after our workshop presentation at the recent Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) 57th annual conference, which brought together 450 people from 113 co-ops from around the country. Our General Manager (GM) Brandon Kane and our Membership Manager Alexis Alexander had put together a very thorough presentation outlining GreenStar's FLOWER (Fresh Local Organic Within Everyone's Reach) low-income discount program and the success of our diversity and inclusion efforts. We were extremely well-received by approximately 80 cooperators who attended the workshop, some saying they had been waiting years for something like this to be presented, and we gave all the information we could for them to take home to use in their co-ops and communities.
First on our agenda was the GM's monthly report, which showed that both stores continue to do better than expected, with Oasis having some record-breaking weeks of sales. Brandon also told us that the central kitchen and bakery project planned for our warehouse building is on track. We expect to be having a walk-through for our members in mid-July, so look for announcements in the stores and on this website. Brandon also let us know that a full audit, compiled by an outside accounting firm, should be prepared in time for our July 9 Council meeting. We were also brought up to date on the fantastic work our affiliate organization GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP) is doing. They will be launching a donation drive to run from mid-June through July, so please check out their link on our website. Donations can be made at our registers, by check, or online to help them accomplish their food justice and food equality initiatives.
Council - Council News
Friday, 31 May 2013 17:16
By 12th Moon,
Council held our regular monthly meeting on May 14 in The Space @ GreenStar with all Council Members attending most of the meeting. Losing no time after the annual Council elections, we had just held our annual Area Supervisors and Council dinner meeting on Friday, May 10, and held our annual retreat with our consultant from Cooperative Board Leadership Development (CBLD) all day on Saturday, May 11, with all three newly elected Council Members participating.
After removing two items from our agenda that were not ready for presentation yet, we moved on to receive the General Manager's (GM) monthly report. Brandon Kane, our GM, reported on progress made on the central kitchen and bakery to be constructed in our warehouse building at 700 W. Buffalo Street. He also reported that a new lease agreement had been signed with the developer seeking to build the Collegetown Crossings project (which would include a GreenStar satellite location), contingent on the City's removal of the parking requirements for the project. Brandon further informed us of a consumer product education service that he and Operations Manager Sara Paulison are investigating, provided by a firm entitled How Good (www.howgood.com), and he informed us that managers are looking at the possibility of selling the Ithaca Chai business. He also announced that our tax-exempt affiliate, GreenStar Community Projects (GSCP), has hired a new staff support person, Luke Jones, is making progress on a donation drive, is continuing regular community networking dinner meetings, and is planning for an all-day event in the fall.
We next certified the voting results of our April Council elections and referendum vote, with much discussion around how people vote and what we could do in the future to guide members to submit the ballots whole (some members submitted their ballots cut into separate pieces for the various votes: Council, referendum, etc.). Look for the posted voting results at both stores and on our website, www.greenstar.coop. We then seated Patrice Lockert Anthony to fill our one vacant seat. A big welcome and thank you to Patrice and our two other new Council Members, who will be seated at our June 11 meeting, Courtney Mayszak and Scott Morris.
Council - Council News
Sunday, 05 May 2013 16:58
By 12th Moon,
Council held its regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 9 in The Space @ GreenStar with twelve of our fourteen members present, and a full agenda.
We received the General Manager's (GM) monthly report first. Brandon Kane, our GM, reported that a few of the managers have spent much time over the past months compiling a feasibility study regarding the proposed project of building a centralized kitchen and bakery, and renovating The Space @ GreenStar to hold public events. This project was presented to Council later in the evening (see below for more).
Brandon also reported that GreenStar Community Projects hosted their third "Feeding our Future" networking event in The Space on Thursday, March 28, with sixty in attendance focused on finding solutions to equitable access in our community's food system. The Winter Farmers Market closed out the season after another great winter at The Space @ GreenStar. Brandon said that the 2012 Annual Report will be available at the Annual Spring Member Meeting and thereafter at both stores.
The GM's report told us that the online Council Policy Book is now up to date, and that GreenStar is collaborating with GIAC and Loaves and Fishes to present the three-part PBS documentary "Race: The Power of an Illusion" for staff and board members on three consecutive weekdays in June.
Council - Announcements
Thursday, 04 April 2013 00:27
By Dan Hoffman,
GreenStar's plans to open a third store, in Collegetown, hit a big bump last month, when the City's Board of Zoning Appeals (BZA) denied a set of variances sought by the property's owners, throwing the future of their project into limbo. The new store won approval from the Co-op's Membership last year, but the lease for the space was contingent upon the developer's securing the variances by March.
The Co-op's serious exploration of the idea of a new store in Collegetown began in 2011, when Josh Lower — who, with his father, Bill, owns the property at 307 College Avenue — developed a plan to replace the current two-story building with a six-story, mixed-use structure and invited GreenStar to become its "anchor" commercial tenant.
As designed, the upper stories of the building (named "Collegetown Crossing") would contain 50 apartments. The intent is to create a project whose residents (most likely Cornell students or employees) could be "car-free," by locating it in a dense area, having a source of healthy groceries downstairs, providing state-of-the-art bicycle storage, locating a protected bus shelter at the front of the building, and offering free bus passes and car-share discounts to residents without cars. In addition to Josh Lower's commitment to reduction of car use, the narrow property has physical constraints that would make it difficult and expensive to satisfy the City's existing zoning requirement that over 50 off-street parking spaces be provided for the apartments.
The project drew strong support from the Collegetown neighborhood, with hundreds signing a petition in favor, and Mayor Svante Myrick endorsed it. A handful of people publicly opposed it, including alderperson Ellen McCollister, who represents the Belle Sherman neighborhood (further up East Hill), a competing developer (John Novarr, who received variances in 2010 for his own Collegetown Terrace project, on East State/MLK Street, which involved demolition of more than 25 houses, and construction of 1,230 residential units and 746 parking spaces, and which faced sharp opposition from neighbors), and a business owner across the street. The main concern voiced was that residents would in fact have cars, adding to traffic problems, and would seek to park in other residential neighborhoods.
Council - Council News
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 23:49
By 12th Moon,
Council held its monthly meeting on March 12 in The Space @ GreenStar with thirteen of our fourteen members in attendance. We managed to work through a lengthy agenda and still adjourn five minutes early.
During our "announcements" time we heard that GreenStar and Local First Ithaca will be sponsors of two screenings of the documentary film Bag It, which investigates the relationship we have with plastics. There will be a showing of the film at Cornell on Wednesday, April 17 and a showing at Cinemapolis on Sunday, April 21.
Brandon Kane, our General Manager (GM), presented his monthly GM's Report as our first item. Brandon reported that the store managers are looking to enlarge our "Basics" program to include more offerings and that progress is being made on completing a feasibility study regarding the proposed construction of a centralized kitchen and bakery in our warehouse building, which should come to Council next month at our April 9 meeting. The plans also include the finishing of the north end of the building as a large meeting space for our uses and for community events. He also reported that the Board of Zoning Appeals had denied the requested variances to the developer of the proposed Collegetown Crossing project. We're still hoping this project, which would house a GreenStar satellite store, will go forward, as the city could move to remove the minimum parking requirements later this year. We learned that research is being done to evaluate the future use of our small building currently leased by Enterprise car rental, which they will be vacating later this year.
Brandon also reported on three Diversity and Inclusion initiatives. The first was an All Staff meeting held March 26, focused on diversity and inclusion in the workplace with facilitation by Dr. Nadia Rubaii, who has done similar workshops through the Human Services Coalition. Second, GreenStar and AFCU staff members participated in a first-round Talking Circle last year, facilitated by the Multicultural Resource Center, and are planning another combined Talking Circle this year. Third, Brandon reported that we are working on collaborating with GIAC in April to host a three-part viewing of Race: The Power of an Illusion, along with facilitated discussions. This is part of a community-wide initiative supported by many organizations, including the Multicultural Resource Center and Coalition: Understanding to Overcome (U2O).
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