Monday, 03 August 2015 22:45
By 12th Moon,
Council met Tuesday, July 14 in the Classrooms @ GreenStar at 6:30 pm for our monthly meeting with twelve of fourteen Council Members, three staff, and three member-owners present. During announcements, we heard that Council Member Ellen Brown recently gave birth to a happy, healthy daughter — congratulations, Ellen!
General Manager (GM) Brandon Kane presented the first item on our agenda, the GM's monthly report. Brandon reported that the focus for staff recently has been on expanding our BASICS Program, everyday low prices, and both the Member Deals and Flash Sales programs to provide our member-owners with more great products at the lowest prices possible. Brandon also reported that GreenStar was very well received at this year's Consumer Cooperative Management Association's annual conference in Boise, Idaho. Brandon participated on a panel that opened the conference with a discussion of how Co-ops can be more inclusive of people from all parts of our communities, especially people of color. During the conference, many attendees from co-ops around the country sought our advice on many issues, as GreenStar is seen as a leader in many areas of our business.
Brandon and Finance Manager Erik Amos spent much of their time during the past month compiling a ten-year financial plan to submit to the two cooperative lending institutions that are helping us with equipment purchases for the Collegetown location as well as a large solar array we hope to have in place later this year. Staff have also been working to create new shelf tags for the products we sell that will have symbols informing shoppers if the products are vegan, Fair Trade, produced by a co-op, local, regional, GMO-free, organic, etc. Our Central Kitchen staff have been creating new dishes and expanding on our hot-bar offerings, so look for new yummies at both stores. The Membership Department is now offering co-op info sessions for our member-owners. I attended the first one on July 9 in the Classrooms, and it was great and very well received — I recommend it to everyone to learn about the history of cooperatives in this country and the general business model. Well done, Membership. The next session is scheduled for August 24 at 7 pm in the Classrooms.
Thursday, 02 July 2015 06:53
By 12th Moon,
Council met in the Classrooms @ GreenStar on Tuesday, June 9 with ten Council Members, one Council Member-elect, five staff members (one, a Staff Advisory Board member), and four member-owners present. After some clarification regarding an agenda item and announcements we moved on to our business items.
The General Manager's monthly report came first with GM Brandon Kane reporting that, after a slow start to sales for the year, things are picking up and we are now matching budget. We hope that continued growth will bring us back in line with the projections for 2015. Brandon told us that both the new Member Deals and Flash Sales programs were meeting with member approval and continue to be a way to offer best prices to our member-owners. He also reported that a chalkboard has been mounted to the east wall of the West-End store that gives the number of local products we're carrying — currently 3,700 plus — and which will be updated weekly.
Brandon reported that much of his time lately has been dedicated to the financing of our planned Collegetown location and refinancing the annex, Central Kitchen, and Space building to allow us to install a large array of solar panels this year. GreenStar has applied to be a vendor at this year's Magnaball Festival in Watkins Glen in August — this will be our first foray into the concept of a pop-up co-op store. The construction of the Waterfront Trail is progressing but not without disrupting the traffic flow between Court and Buffalo Streets. Prior access that is now blocked by the construction has meant that people driving through are now on our side of the fencing between our building and Corks and More, creating a hazard for our staff as the entrance to our kitchen opens directly onto this route. Joy Mathews of Facilities staff has been working hard at the raised flower beds at the West-End store and added large flower pots around the Classrooms and the Space to help beautify our grounds. The DeWitt location has a new air conditioner to help cool the store and equipment.
Wednesday, 03 June 2015 01:50
By 12th Moon,
Council met Tuesday, May 12 at the Classrooms @ GreenStar for our monthly meeting with all thirteen Council Members, two newly elected but not-yet-seated Council Members, five staff members, and a number of member-owners interested in a member-initiated petition to conduct a referendum vote regarding having GreenStar halt the sale of certain products from Israel and/or from specific companies associated with the conflict in Gaza and the West Bank (see below and Council's Message to Membership on this page for more on this).
After our introductions and statement of preparedness, we made an agenda amendment to add an item to our agenda for the evening, and then heard announcements. We then heard comments from a few members relevant to the petition.
The General Manager's (GM) monthly report came as our first order of business. Our GM, Brandon Kane, reported that the improvements at the DeWitt location, covering the stairway to the basement and opening up floor space as a result, have been very well received by members and staff alike. Brandon reported that Erik Amos, our new Finance Manager, and Matt McLaren, our new Central Kitchen Manager, are now familiar with their new positions and have been incorporated into the Area Supervisors Team. Brandon informed us that he had been asked to be part of a panel presentation at next month's annual national Consumer Cooperative Management Association (CCMA) conference. This will be the third year in a row that GreenStar has been asked to present at the CCMA conference; we must be doing something well. Brandon will be presenting our Fresh Local Organic Within Everyone's Reach (FLOWER) program and speaking about our diversity and inclusion efforts.
- Council Schedules Special Meeting to Consider Referendum Petition
- Council Meeting Report: Council Approves Amended Collegetown Lease, Authorizes Funds for Solar Array
- Council Meeting Report: Council Appoints New Member; Selects Tellers for April Election
- Council Meeting Report: Council Appoints New Member; Approves Hiring Collegetown Consultant
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By Dan Hoffman,
12th Moon, Kristen Kaplan, Eric Banford, Susan Beckley, Jessica Rossi and Mark Darling finished the counting in just under four hours.
412 Total valid envelopes
21 total invalid = 19- no ID, 1- first of two ballots, 1- no ballot in envelope
Also = 1- name tag, 5- 2 cent slips, 1- Member Labor Request and two wooden nickles.
Two thirds vote required to pass.
Q#1 = PASS
Q#2 = FAIL
Q#3 = PASS
Q#4 = PASS
Q#5 = PASS
Q#6 = PASS
member-owners are the only ones who have the power to change the Co-op's bylaws, the organization's most basic and important document. There is an opportunity to do so (or not) during this month — at the Fall Member Meeting, at the stores, or by mail.
GreenStar's Council has established an ad hoc Bylaws Review Committee, which started meeting again earlier this year, after being inactive for at least two years. Council had referred a couple of issues to the committee, which identified several more on its own. In August, Council voted (unanimously, except in the case of #2, below) to send the committee's six recommended bylaws amendments to the membership for a YES or NO vote on each of the following questions:
1. Should the Co-op be allowed to use a withdrawing member's refundable equity contribution [which could be up to $90] to pay off any outstanding debt the member has to the Co-op (such as for bad checks)?
2. Should all Council candidates and members be required to satisfy any requirements associated with operational licenses maintained or sought by the Co-op (such as to sell or serve alcohol)?
3. Should Council be allowed to conduct closed executive sessions for two additional topics — possible litigation or contract negotiations?
4. Should the composition of Council's Immediacies Committee be changed to match that described in Council policy, and that of the Executive Planning Committee?
5. Should the use of gender-specific pronouns (such as "he" or "she") be eliminated in the bylaws?
6. Should three "clerical errors" made when the bylaws were amended in 2010 be officially corrected?
Much more information on the proposed amendments, including detailed explanations, pro and con statements and voting instructions, are available in the Fall Member Mailing, which all current members should receive in the mail by October 6. Members can vote up until close of business on Oct. 31 at either store, by mailing in the ballot from the Mailing, or in person at the Fall Member Meeting, on Friday, Oct. 16, at the Space.
By Alexis Alexander,
I have woken to a new day, a day when GreenStar's annual Member Meetings and pancakes are defined as pure elegance and inspiration. Surprised?
The morning after our Fall Member Meeting, I'm entranced by the experience of last night. I realize how far GreenStar has come over the years, and how integral and essential a partner we are in the wider regional food movement before us. Our roots as a buying club and grain store have matured into a multimillion-dollar community-based cooperative that affords us the ability, and the responsibility, to bring "real food," as Marketing Manager Joe Romano would say, back to a broader spectrum of our local and regional community. Read more...