Attending: Josh Goran, Sheila Harko, Amber Myers, John Gargan, Jeff Ingram, Ashley Hendricks, Anne Reid, Elizabeth Ryan, Fred Pierre
Guests: Eric Hutzel
Sunday hours will be extended by four hours, changing from 10-6 to 10 to 8; this will be reviewed in six months.
We clarified hours for closers in this way: closers are expected to complete all tasks by 9 p.m. but may work as late as 9:30 when necessary.
MINUTES: Approval of the minutes was proposed by Josh, seconded by Jexo, and approved with the exception of Elizabeth, who abstained.
AGENDA: The agenda was approved with the addition of Amber’s proposed guidelines for the personnel committee’s handling of incident reports.
Treasurer/Financial: For the month of March, 2013 growth continued to slow with sales before discounts up only 0.23% compared to March of 2012; the same period from 2011 to 2012 sales were up 25%. Costs of goods sold as a percentage of sales were 74.54% compared to 63.83% in March, 2012. If we had maintained the same ratio as last March, we would have seen a profit for the month of $4300 rather than a $1,388 loss. Part of this is due to funds needed for equipment and building repairs and a tax bill higher by $1000.
Sales for the first three months of the year were up by 5.10%; we had a loss for the same period of $3, 246. This was in part due to payroll costs that exceeded the 15% mark by a but more than 3%.
Outreach: Josh has now created a rough draft of a newsletter. He will send out a digital version of it to us for feedback. Josh asked that information about the June 23 member meeting at the Kent Stage be included in the text.
Website/IT: No report
Staff Meetings: Nicole and Christina have been doing Aurelia’s shifts.
Staff discussed the importance of establishing more continuity in the ways procedures and policies are implemented, especially related to
Mary Jane is now the staff person on the Personnel Committee. Also, a staff member has announced that she will be taking a leave of absence for medical reasons. Jen and Jexo have taken over her shifts. There was also a request from staff that buyers be given better autonomy over their own departments; this request includes not rearranging stock or buying items for their own departments.
Volunteer Committee/Personnel Committee: no reports
Facilities: We had to replace one of the coolers for $4900 after the previous one could not be repaired. An insurance claim was filed.
Website/IT: Buyers have asked for e-mail addresses associated with the coop; computers have been updated for security. We have not yet had the POS training workshop; Fred and Josh will organize it.
Membership: Staff are adding new members to the POS system on the same day that they sign up and also filing paper cards into the files. We must tie the membership roles and the POS system together as part of a membership drive. We want to create a list of the top 50-100 members in terms of money spent in coop; these members may be considered to be among the best prospects for fundraising. John and Anne will serve as the core of a membership committee to help contact people.
1. Facilities/Expansion Project: John, Sheila and Jexo attended
a conference at the Ohio Employee Ownership Center and presented our expansion plan. As a result, we won a $350 award, which we will use to rent the Kent Stage for our membership meeting.
John reported that we will need approximately $83,000 between construction and equipment costs. We will pursue a loan from Home Savings, perhaps a loan from CAC and also a grant for the façade restructuring. We also would like to raise funds from our membership and in particular get buy-in from them related to the project.
If we can get a $60,000 construction loan, we can raise additional funds as the construction is occurring. Important will be to develop different options for people to help support the project; eg, lump sum donations or small sums per month for one year or two years. Also, Amber suggested at the last meeting that we might ask members for consider forgoing their discounts for a fixed period as a way off offering support for the expansion. We also had a discussion of whether it would be practical to hire someone to help with fundraising, as well as whether we should consider using a Kickstarter account to help us raise part of the funds.
2. Store Profitability and Efficiency: This is to be a monthly item so long as there is time for it; this month there may not be enough. Josh: a particularly important efficiency concern is getting through the lines quickly, which does not occur now; also, we need to keep the aisles clear for safety reasons.
Fred: also important is consistently pulling items forward on the shelves.
Elizabeth: when items get sparse on the shelves, it’s important always to look at the bottom shelf since items are often there. Also “best by” does not mean write off.
John: important to rotate products on the shelf
Josh: we need establish clear policies related to expiration dates and best by dates; we are missing the big picture at times.
1. Closing Time Scheduling: Ashley proposed that we extend hours on Thursdays and Sundays. After some discussion, Jexo proposed that we extend Sunday’s hours to be from 10 to 8, resulting in 4 more staffed hours per week, and this will be reviewed after 6 months. Ashley’s analysis suggests that these extended hours would be profitable. Ashley seconded Jexo’s proposal and it was approved with two abstentions from Josh and Fred.
We also discussed whether evening shifts extended to 9 or 9:30.
Evening staff reported that because customers often come in a few minutes before closing, additional time past 9 p.m. is often needed to complete all tasks. Jexo’s proposal was that closers are expected to complete all tasks by 9 but may work as late as 9:30 if necessary.
Elizabeth seconded the motion and it was approved with a no vote from Josh.
2. Annual Member Meeting: We should start putting up signs announcing the time and place of the meeting because people have been asking about it. We should also be encouraging likely candidates to run for a position on the board. Josh will help Anne export names of members from the POS system to an excel file so that labels can be created; we’ll work with Wordsmith for the mailing.
3. Bylaw Revisions: Anne encouraged members to come to the next meeting with any suggestions for bylaw changes. She suggested one change: there must be a minimum of four non-staff Board members, since officers should not be on staff because of worker’s comp costs. We must consider any changes at the next meeting since they must go out to members in the meeting mailer.
4. Hiring Question: Anne asked that a recommendation from personnel related to a staff members shift from fill-in to regular staff be brought to the next Board meeting.
5. Meeting Time: We explored changing the day and time of meetings; for now we will stay with Sunday evenings.
6. Amber’s Communication Document: Amber began a presentation of a document designed to help improve communication among various groups within the coop; we will have a fuller discussion of this at the next meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:45.
Attending: Josh Goran, Sheila Harko, Amber Myers, John Gargan, Jeff
Ingram, Ashley Hendricks, Anne Reid
Absent: Elizabeth Ryan, Fred Pierre
Guests: Roger Muzia, Karin Bergener
To hire as new fill-ins Christina Woodson and Nicole Miller
To approve the plan for the mural proposed by Athen Murray, contingent upon his raising funds for the project, identifying and complying with signage regulations and completing the work
To authorize up to $600 for two small desks for the office
Reports were initiated first because there was not yet a quorum of members.
Treasurer/Financial: John reported that for January we are showing a greater loss than reported last month because taxes had not been paid. For February, sales decreased by 6.61% compared to January, although a small slowdown after a period of great growth is probably natural. The cost of goods as a percent of sales was 76.35%, a good improvement over last year’s 85.46% ratio. We experienced a loss of $ 640 this year compared to last year’s loss of almost $6,000. Included in these figures, though, is a property tax payment which is usually spread out over a six month period. John says that it is crucial that we grow our savings accounts as much as possible in preparation for our expansion, particularly since for the past 9 months sales are up 8% over the same period last year; this adds up to almost $ 100, 000. Without the unusually high tax payment, that makes us quite close to breaking even.
John suggested that in order to increase our income, it may be necessary to get a better POS system, one which will communicate more smoothly with our Quickbooks system. Without having that functionality it will not be possible to have an inventory system which provides the level of detail that we need. He also reported that payroll expenses as a percent of sales were close to 19% for the month; the need to be closer to 17%. February payroll expenses grew by 24% while our sales growth was 6.61%; this trend is not sustainable.
We had a good year, though the taxes are showing a $13,000 loss; part of this is a result of Linda not subtracting the ending inventory when she prepared them.
Outreach: Josh talked about the progress of the planned newsletter and reported that he has received some submissions as well as feedback from people who would like to contribute. He also has been working with Alyssa on developing a template for it. It is important to have a centralized KNFC e-mail address for folks to submit articles.
It was suggested that we use the newsletter to help us recruit potential board members, particularly those with skills we need, such as fundrasing. Josh also suggested that we have another member potluck a month or so before the annual meeting (e.g., around mid-May) in order to have an open dialogue about the expansion and other plans for the coop’s future. He pointed out that need to keep in clear focus our role in serving our members, not often kept in the forefront in the store. Quarterly potlucks could help us move in that direction.
Website/IT: We discussed the importance of each buyer having an individual e-mail address associated with KNF domain. We will bring that up with Fred at the next meeting. Also, Jexo signed a contract for two additional yeas of Roadrunner for both phone and cable lines; the result of this is that we now have the same service for both.
Staff Meetings: The staff approved a donation, worked on placement of new shelving, and discussed fill-in staff. They need to identify a new time for staff meetings; as always, it’s difficult to find a time that everyone can attend. We discussed new ways of making sure that the disconnect among staff is reduced.
Personnel Committee: Ashley reported that the personnel committee is recommending that we hire all three people who have applied for fill-in positions. This will both give us flexibility and smooth out conflicts related to this hire. This item will be decided under new business.
Facilities: The committee will recommend that we go forward with a scaled-down expansion which does not depend on the side expansion since timing for the sale of the next-door office is uncertain. Also, Jexo reported that we have received a list of recommendations from the Health Department related to repairs. These are being attended to.
Membership: Anne described the procedure that she and Elizabeth have been using to investigate membership appeals.
MINUTES: The minutes for February were approved; before the meeting John suggested changes now reflected in the current copy. Josh moved approval, Jexo seconded, they were accepted unanimously.
AGENDA: The agenda was approved unanimously with the addition of “ergonomics and order processing”, which was added to the item titled “increasing store profitability”. Josh moved approval and Jexo seconded.
Facilities/Expansion Project: Roger presented new plans, downsizing the original to one story and eliminating the side expansion for now. Both the bathroom and office are moved into new space and the entrance is flipped to the west. So far the counter will be left in place. We discussed possible alternatives to this since it is now difficult to check out more than one person at a time. The budget is also reduced by 25%. Roger asked for folks to look over the new plans, share with staff and members and get any feedback to him within the next month.
John described a conversation he had with Dan Smith, Kent’s Economic Development Coordinator. He told John that plans for the city to buy and then tear down the optometry office next door will in all probability not happen for a “very long time”. In the meantime, we want to proceed with an expansion plan which is fiscally practical, gives us more space and helps us make better use of existing space.
We discussed the need to plan for appropriate new equipment and fixtures which will work with the newly configured space. Included may be a cooler in front of the kitchen with prepared products and a new walk in cooler with more display capacity than we have now.
The current design will mean an outlay of approximately $75,000.
John suggests that we plan on 50% raised through fundraising and 50% through financing a 20 year mortgage. We are waiting for an answer about a grant proposal to provide funds for altering the façade.
1. Hiring of new fill-in staff (Personnel): The recommendation from the committee was to hire all three candidates: Nicole, Christine and Raleigh. Josh suggested that hiring three people is not practical because their time in the store will be watered down and therefore their training will be weak. Other concerns about hiring three people were raised. Ashley moved that all three candidates be hired; Anne offered a friendly amendment that each candidate be voted on separately; this amendment was accepted. The vote was to hire Nicole and Christine as our new fill-in staff members. The vote on the final candidate was four in favor and three abstentions.
2. Increasing profitability/Ergonomics and order processing (Josh):
We opened this item with a discussion of whether we need to purchase a new POS system better suited to our business, able to produce reports and align with Quickbooks in a way which would better enable us to keep track of inventory and identify best selling items in each department. The new Product Review Committee will address this; also, we suggested that Fred be contacted to set a buyer-specific in-service to help us use the tools available in the current system. Bulk-ordering could more easily be done by creating buying sheets for each department. Quickbooks has its own POS system which we may consider. Karin suggested that if we need a new system she will help identify options.
We also discussed looking into a new credit card processing system.
Josh suggested that we begin what should be an on-going conversation about overall store profitability and efficiency. Examples of issues to explore include deliveries which remain on the sales floor and interfere with buying, volunteers in the office causing bottlenecks, and delivery sheets and products on the counter interfering with checkouts. Anne suggested we add this topic to each agenda and have a short discussion at every meeting
3. Athen Murray Mural (Jexo): Elaine created an idea for the implementation of Athen’s mural; it would be painted on individual panels and then mounted at the back of the store. Athen mustcomplete the work. Josh moved to accept this plan; Anne seconded the motion; the motion was unanimously approved.
4. Office furniture request (Sheila): Sheila suggested that we buy two smaller desks for the office and get rid of the huge desk now there. Her proposal is to buy two refurbished desks at approximately $300 per desk. Her motion was to allocate up to $600 for two desks; Jexo seconded the motion; it was approved unanimously.
5. Staffing Issue (Anne): Anne suggested that the personnel committee consider a plan to resolve a staffing issue in a way which would meet the needs of all concerned.
Members Present: John Gargan, Sheila Harko, Amber Myers, Josh Goran, Fred Pierre, Ashley Hendricks, Jeff Ingram, Anne Reid
Absent: Elizabeth Ryan
A new four hour shift was authorized; the time for the shift will be allocated by staff.
A reimbursement of $30 was approved for Anne for funds spent on plants for the Volunteer Potluck.
The meeting was called to order at 7:45.
Minutes: Some minor changes to January’s minutes, including revisions to the financial report, were proposed and approved by all.
Agenda: The item which had been proposed by Elizabeth was removed; one item related to an additional reimbursement for the Volunteer Potluck expenses was added.
Treasurer/Financial: John reported that for the month of January we showed slightly under an $800 loss, due to larger than usual payroll expenses. John believes that the loss is understated, as it appears that the January taxes were not paid. He will make the necessary adjustment to Quickbooks to include the taxes. Had the payroll figures been the same as the previous month (17% of sales) there would have been a profit of $800. Between January, 2012 and January, 2013 sales were up by 9.96%. Cash balances continue to rise.
He will adjust our practices to fit more precisely with proper accounting methods; eg, delivery charges will be added to cost of goods. We are in the process of creating a routine and a finance calendar which will help better systematize finance processes.
Outreach: Outreach addressed under a new business item.
Staff report: Jexo reported that staff is working on ironing out difficulties and concerns about shifts, special orders and hiring new fill-ins.
Personnel: The committee has interviewed four people to fill
fill-in slots; they will come back to the March meeting with recommendations for hiring.
John met with Ron Burbick and David Ruler since the last board meeting. They talked again about the advantages using the space to be eventually available from the Reeves optical office for part of our expansion. They discussed the possibility of using that space for a vegetarian café. Although this is not something which will happen soon, we can nevertheless begin the project by pushing out the back and by restructuring space. The facilities committee proposes combining this year’s membership meeting with a kickoff of our fundraising effort, to be held at the Kent Stage. Jexo will identify a Sunday in June for this event, which will include the meeting, a potluck meal and music.
1. Meat Department Report: Amber reported that since September of 2012, we have made a profit of $1900 on meat sales. Our main distributors are Breakneck Acres in Ravenna Township and Salt of the Earth in Atwater. About 43 different members have purchased meat as well as a number of nonmembers. Special orders have been high.
2. Volunteer Recognition Potluck: By and large, the potluck was a good first effort and a success. Food worked out well, the music was great, and the room looked good.. On the minus side, we were at or a bit above capacity and there were not enough chairs for everyone. It would have been a plus to have some casual discussion about the state of the cooperative. Also, organization was not strong. For the next one, perhaps between now and the annual meeting, we might have a vision potluck, focused on the expansion and the future of the coop. Although we are always welcome at the gallery, it might be wise to identify a larger venue for the next one.
Meeting was called to order at 7:45.
Some changes to the minutes were made and approved by all.
Agenda: take out Elizabeth, put in Anne’s request for reimbursement.
3. Reviving the KNFC Newsletter: Josh reported that he and his friend Alyssa are interested in working on a monthly newsletter. The
format would be simple and include sale info, a column or two as well as features such as a call for volunteers and a focus on “volunteer of the month. Josh asked staff and other board members to contact him with their ideas about what should be included in a newsletter and for the next meeting he will put together a template. He also reminded staff to be sure to get e-mail addresses for new members.
4. New Shift Proposals: The personnel committee is recommending that a new shift be added on Sunday from 10-2 for back-stocking and cleaning. There was discussion about whether that is the best time for adding a stocking shift and concerns voiced about adding shifts rather than correcting fixable problems with existing shifts. Josh pointed out that existing payroll is at 17.2% ; pushing it higher would be problematic. The proposal was altered to add one four hour shift to be allocated by staff as needed. Fred made the motion and John seconded it. The motion passed with one abstention by Josh.
5. Policy Manual: Fred proposed that the policy manual be streamlined and put onto the web site. Anne said she would work on it, focusing on those in place during those years that the Board has been active.
6. Reimbursement Request: Anne asked to be reimbursed for
$30 spent on plants given to volunteers at the potluck. The motion was passed with one abstention by Anne.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:25.
Members Present: John Gargan, Sheila Harko, Amber Myers, Elizabeth Ryan, Josh Goran, Fred Pierre, Ashley Hendricks, Jeff Ingram.
Absent: Anne Reid
Bonuses were approved as follows: $200 each for each regular staff member and $100 each for fill-in staff, excepting Heidi who will receive a $50 bonus.
A $100 allocation was approved as a budget for the
Volunteer Recognition Potluck
Two weeks severance pay and a $200 bonus was allocated to a former employee.
The minutes were approved with one revision; John moved approval and Sheila seconded. One abstention from Amber.
The agenda was approved with two revisions: Amber asked for the meat department item under new business to be pulled. Ashley asked to add an item related to store hours. Both changes were accepted.
Treasurer/Financial: John reported that December was a very strong month, generating almost 15% more in sales compared to November. In addition, the ratio of cost of goods to sales fell to 48.8%. We consequently generated a surplus for the month of $5200.
Year to date our sales are up 18%. Many new people, coming to check out the changes to Kent, are finding us, and the store looks very good.
Outreach: Sheila has ordered coupons to help bring people into the store. Also, the potluck will be an excellent community outreach effort.
Staff report: Jexo reported that a new honey tin is being delivered.
The duties of the former employee are being divided as follows: Sheila is doing some of the financial tasks, Amber is taking care of snack and cookies, Sheila is handling beverages. We need help with taxes. John will talk to Linda about that.
Personnel: Ashley reported that a former employee chose not to have a hearing to appeal her dismissal. Nine outstanding incident reports from the last months will consequently be considered resolved. She reminded both staff and non-staff board members not to discuss matters related to sensitive issues on the store floor but rather go to the office. Currently Aurelia is filling most of the employee’s former shifts; there was concern that a new fill-in is needed soon.
Facilities: Roger was unable to come to the meeting tonight. John
suggested we consider developing a vegetarian restaurant or café if we are able to take one half the space of next door’s office.
Web Site/IT: No report from Fred on the web site. Jexo would like to see an in-service on the POS system, particularly focused on the types of reports we can generate that we are not yet able to get.
The suggestion was made to aim for later this month.
Membership: Elizabeth reported that most of the outstanding membership questions have been resolved by Elizabeth and Anne.
One which has not yet been settled is the question of Kabir Syed’s membership; no evidence that he has a paid membership has been found. Anne will talk to him about paying a $45 fee to be grandfathered in as a lifetime member.
1. Staff bonuses: John proposes two hundred dollar bonuses for each regular staff member and one hundred for each fill-in because of
the financial growth this year. This adds up to $1700, representing one-third of our profit. John proposes to put the rest of the profit directly toward the expansion project. John moved the proposal and accepted Josh’s friendly amendment that Heidi’s bonus be $50 since she has not worked as much. The motion was approved by all non-staff board members.
2. Store hours: Ashley’s analysis of store hours and income shows the following: during the last half hour he store is open, there has been a minor increase in income on Mondays and Tuesdays, a minor loss on Wednesdays and a major increase on Thursdays. There has been a minor loss on Saturdays and big increases on Sundays. Ashley suggested that we might want to add another hour on Thursdays and on Sundays. No action will be taken right now on this.
3. Volunteer Recognition Potluck: Elizabeth has hand-written all the volunteer names; Amber will e-mail it to Anne. The event will be at the Kluth gallery Feb. 10 at 6:30. A $100 budget was approved for the event.
4. Pay for former employee: John makes two motions; one to pay two weeks severance and one to include the departed employee in the regular staff bonus of $200. The first motion was seconded by Ashley and approved with one abstention from Josh. The second motion was seconded by Jexo and approved with Josh abstaining.
Decisions: Revised policy (and procedural recommendations) related to customer-related membership issues.
Store will close on January 6 for inventory.
Members Present: Amber Myers, Ashley Hendricks, Elizabeth Ryan, John Gargan, Josh Goran, Sheila Harko, Fred Pierre, Anne Reid, Jeff Ingram
Guest: Roger Muzia
The meeting was called to order at 7:40.
Anne suggested that the agenda item related to the facilities project be discussed first; this was moved by John, seconded by Josh and approved unanimously.
Facilities/Expansion: John opened the discussion by reporting that the focus of the city right now is on approval for building “C”; our own project will not get much attention for the present. Roger showed us his current drawing of a new plan with includes a walkway along what will become our western wall and preliminary drawings of a one-story expansion. We discussed some of the features we’d like to see, including space for a larger walk-in cooler, office space which is not also storage area for goods and a higher ceiling to provide for more storage. Roger also reported that Ron Burbick has offered us the use of office space in Acorn Alley for meetings.
Roger will develop more details as part of a Phase I proposal and recommended that members send him suggestions about their priorities.
The minutes were approved with a number of changes.
Fred moved approval of the agenda, Jexo seconded and the board
Treasurer: John announced that November was a good month, up about 24% over a year ago and up almost 20% in a year to date comparison. The cost of goods ratio was about 68%, much closer to a desirable level than it has been in the last few months. We must show the strongest year possible in order that the meeting with Home Savings to discuss financing for Phase I of the expansion goes well. John said in general we must do a better job of inventory management, getting a clearer picture of what inventory we have that takes up space better to be used by goods that turn over more quickly. We need to make better use of the resources we have and to have QuickBooks connected to POS. This needs to be addressed by the Product Analysis committee.
For the month, payroll costs in relation to sales was up to 21.5%; an ideal figure is no more than 17%. Cost of goods was down 5% but payroll up 5%.
Sheila reported that we had our biggest sales day ever on the day of our Open House at $4660. Even though we doubled the discount, we still had a $4100 day.
Volunteer: This report will be under new business.
Outreach: No report
Staff: There is an issue related to verifying memberships that staff would like the board to address in more detail. Buzz magazine seems to be producing good results in store traffic. Staff would like to see better attendance at meetings.
Personnel: Ashley reported that there are currently nine incident reports outstanding; by the next meeting there should be a clear response to this. More research needs to be done. Fred suggested that conflicts are best handled by people sitting down together, possibly using mediation. John’s opinion is that in these cases this may not work.
Facilities: No additional information presently; the next meeting has been set up.
IT/Website: Fred and Anne met for training about posting minutes on the website. Staff reports that there have been problems related to Merchant OS going down; Josh suggests that if any two computers are logged into the same account, that may cause the problem. Josh suggested a couple of things to try.
Volunteer Recognition Potluck: Anne reported that a number of staff members have suggested holding a potluck to recognize volunteers active within the last year. A tentative date is set for February 2 and place the Kluth Gallery. A committee consisting of Amber, Anne, Jexo and MJ will meet to work out details.
Membership Issues: Elizabeth and Jexo described problems that have been occurring with membership cards; staff would like a somewhat clearer policy related to membership when customers insist they have lifetime or family memberships but no documentation can be found to support it. After some discussion, Josh proposed and John seconded a modification to the membership policy established in September as follows:
A couple or domestic partnership or other family group who believes that they have a family membership or customer who believes they have any type of membership but cannot verify it, may fill out an appeal form, which will be handled on a case by case basis by the board of trustees or a committee appointed by the board.
The board voted approval unanimously.
Anne said that she would ask a staff member to help form a committee to look at existing appeal forms and report back to the board.
We also developed what we are calling a “strongly recommended
procedure” for all staff to follow related to membership problems.
1. Each staff person should ask every patron for their membership card.
2. If the patron believe they have a membership but have not been given a card, ask about when they became a member and if they have an old card.
3. Check for their name in the computer and/or card system if there are no other customers requiring assistance.
4. If they appear in neither place, or if there are other customers waiting, give them the Membership Appeal form to fill out (but not at the counter) and tell them we’ll check on it and let them
5. In the meantime, give them the discount. Do not argue with them.
The reasoning behind our approach to this issue is as follows:
Because our bookkeeping and receipt system has been fallible, and because our loss from a 5% discount is minimal compared to losing a repeat customer, it is beneficial to have a lenient and gentle approach
to the appeal process. Options that we suggest as part of the appeal may include: allowing someone with a documented lifetime membership to include a spouse for $30; allow a switch of spouse to lifetime membership; allowing a long-term customer have a life-time membership card without documentation.
Inventory: We discussed pros and cons of closing the store for inventory; suggested date if we close is Sunday, January 6.
Jexo moved that we close on that day for inventory, Josh seconded.
The motion carried with abstentions from Josh and Ashley and a no vote from Sheila. We will ask if volunteers will help on that day.
Customer Rewards: Elizabeth recommended we develop a reward program for customer/customers who spend the most shopping at the store. Staff will bring a specific recommendation about this to a future meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:20.
An exception to the tabs policy was approved for Amber Myers
A holiday bonus of $50 for regular staff and $20 for fill-in staff was approved.
The personnel committee was authorized to begin the process of recruiting, interviewing and hiring up to two new fill-in staff members.
Members Present: Amber Myers, Ashley Hendricks, Elizabeth Ryan, John Gargan, Josh Goran, Sheila Harko, Fred Pierre, Anne Reid, Jeff Ingram
Guest: Roger Musea
The meeting was called to order at 7:45.
The minutes from the October meeting were approved.
The agenda item listed under Old Business: Facilities Committee/ Expansion project was moved to first because of
Roger Musea’s attendance at the meeting. Roger and John described a meeting they had with Ron Burbick, Kent Economic Development Director Dan Smith and Kent City Manager Dave Ruler. Ron Burbick described a potential plan in which the western half of the space now occupied by the Reeve Optometrist’s business would become a walk-way between the parking lot north of Main Street and Main Street/Acorn Alley businesses; the eastern half would become space for the store expansion. We discussed some of the advantages of moving the expansion from vertical to horizontal, including better accessibility. Roger has begun a revision to his plans based on these new ideas and will return to show us his progress in December.
The rest of the agenda was approved as listed.
John Gargan presented the Finance Report for October, 2012. Growth in sales were again up, 25.6% for the month compared to
October, 2011; however, because the ratio between sales and cost of goods was 85%, we carried a $3,000 loss for the month. Similarly, though we have sales growth of 18.24 % for the first 9 months of the year compared to 2011, we are nevertheless carrying a loss of $9,753 for the year. John emphasized that such figures have a clear implication for the expansion; without better numbers, no bank loan is likely to be forthcoming. Consequently, cost of goods and inventory management must be a much stronger focus of store management.
Josh pointed out that if we spend 86% of money from sales for buying things, that leaves only 14% for everything else. If we are ever to pay a living wage, we must have more margin to work with.
Volunteer: no report
Sheila reported that the Coop Open House will be December 1 and asked folks to signup to bring a food item; food will be available at about noon and music at 1. Also, Amber designed an ad which will be part of a folder/handout for high school and college students.
Staff Meeting Report:
Jeff described several items of discussion including the need to hire new fill-in staff, issues related to proof of membership and buying issues. Also, we provided a donation to the Unitarian Universalist auction.
Personnel will begin process of hiring new fill-in staff.
Also, an incident report was files and the committee found that it did not rise to the level of a disciplinary action.
There have been a couple of requests for training. Also, there is a problem with the front computer and printing; Josh will check it out.
There were a number of items forwarded to the meeting from staff related to communication problems, many of which will be part on-going discussions within both staff and board meetings. Anne suggested that many of them are not solvable through policy initiatives and may be more amenable to resolution through problem solving within staff meetings, the personnel committee and board meetings.
Fred opened the discussion with a dual focus on staff book protocol and efforts made previously in the history of the cooperative to encourage civil communication. Among recommendations he sited related to right relations within the staff book are:
• Before you jump to a conclusion, ask questions, be aware of and value others’ needs
• Ask what you might do differently, especially related to one’s own tone and demeanor.
• Refrain from personal attacks
• Address problems within staff meetings in a depersonalized way using data driven, fact based decision making
Fred also described decision-making and conflict during early periods in the coop’s history, citing growth and improvements in our process.
Elizabeth suggested that we need to use consequences to encourage right relations and take better advantage of the progressive discipline policy we have recently developed.
Josh noted that there are chronic issues in the coop and in most other workplaces similar issues are dealt with by a manager or coordinator. If we are to have a successful expansion, we need to find a way to make more progress solving some of the chronic problems.
Ashley suggested that the personnel committee may have an important role to play in these changes; staff evaluations may help, but not if they focus on negative feedback. She suggested developing a draft of personnel committee roles, particularly for the staff member on the committee.
Other items within this agenda item included: guidelines for filling shifts, attendance at staff meetings, and staff consistency in
asking for membership cards. Josh suggested that formulating board policies for items such as this would probably be ineffective at making change and that they are the kind of items we do not necessarily want the board to address. It may make more sense to address these kinds of items in a more holistic way within the store rather than inch toward making the board fill a managerial role.
Amber suggested that we move the item related to buying issues to last in order to vary the weight of various agenda items; this suggestion was moved, seconded and approved.
2. Exception to Tabs Policy (Amber):
Amber asked for an exception to the tabs policy for herself.
With the approval of the exception, the amount of the tab she may run is flexible and the whole tab amount must be paid before the end of the month in which the tab has run or the next paycheck after the end of the month. The exception was moved, seconded and approved.
3. Holiday Bonuses (Personnel):
Holiday bonuses in the amount of $50 for each regular staff member and $25 for each fill-in was approved; John moved approval, Anne seconded and the motion was approved, Fred and the staff abstained.
4. Authorization to Personnel to Hire Fill-in Staff (Personnel):
The Board authorized the Personnel Committee to interview and hire up to two new fill-in staff because of losses of current fill-in staff. Jexo moved approval, Fred seconded the motion, the motion was approved.
5. Discounts for Fill-ins:
The question came up at the latest staff meeting related to discounts for current fill-in staff. Fred referred to Board minutes which clarify that only during a month that a staff member works is the store discount in effect.
We approved 15 minutes to be added to the meeting time.
6. Buying Issues (Elizabeth):
Elizabeth voiced a concern about items which were bought at a recent trade show for a number of departments without consulting individual buyers about the purchases. We encourage consultation with buyers, particularly at a time when the cost of goods is too high.
Another buying issue is the overall matter of healthy vs unhealthy ingredients in store items; a particular focus of the discussion is sodium nitrates and nitrites since they are allergens for some people. Josh suggested that this concern should be handled in a comprehensive rather than piece-meal fashion. A committee will be formed to discuss an approach to be used to handle such issues.
The committee will include Josh, Amber, Sheila, Elizabeth and Ashley with Jexo as a consultant. It will be called the Product Analysis committee and will also address the issue of the ratio of cost of goods to sales.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:45 and included the suggestion that members make a better effort to be at the meetings on time.
Kent Natural Food Cooperative Board of Trustees Meeting
October 21, 2012 Kluth Gallery
Kent Natural Foods Cooperative
Board of Trustees Meeting
Location: JFKluth Gallery,300 N Water Street
September 17 2012