The Weaver Street Market Board of Directors, left to right: Barbara Keith, Alicia Altmueller, Linda Stier, Dave Bright, Jon McDonald, Charles Traitor, Ruffin Slater.
This January, the Board finalized WSM’s new Ends Statement, which states our desired impact on the world:
A vibrant, sustainable food marketplace—defined by shared economics, shared community, and shared knowledge; driven by widespread and diverse participation; for owners and potential owners.
To create a vibrant, sustainable food marketplace, WSM has set four ambitious 2020 goals:
1. Make healthy eating accessible, tasty, and fun.
2. Drive the growth of local and sustainable foods.
3. Invigorate downtowns.
4. Use net zero energy, create zero waste, and promote responsible packaging.
You can see our accomplishments and our exciting plans to accomplish these goals by clicking on the 2020 goals tab, above.
A sustainable food marketplace is guided by shared economics. For workers, this means good pay, benefits, and the opportunity for advancement. For consumers, this means having a store dedicated to meeting your needs for great products at affordable prices from trusted producers. And for our jointly owned co-op, shared economics means maintaining a solid financial footing. We are pleased to report our co-op is financially stronger than ever and poised for the future.
Shared community is one of the most important aspects of WSM. We are owned, oriented, and operated for the benefit of consumers, workers, and the greater community. WSM embodies shared community—sharing ideas, voting, serving on the Board, gathering with others, enjoying events, participating in our Community Food Partnerships making healthy food accessible to low-income families and individuals. This is ours.
Shared Knowledge is a key to our cooperative difference. It means that owners understand the opportunities and constraints for our co-op as it relates to the greater food marketplace. It also means that we promote the benefits of the co-op business model.
WSM serves current owners and potential owners. Other communities want to benefit from the experience that WSM has brought to downtown Carrboro, Hillsborough, and Southern Village. Over the last year, we have been discussing a new store location with community leaders and hope to have information to share soon.
Updating our Owner Share System
The Board thinks that WSM needs to update our owner share system to raise the share price and to give each share one vote. The share amount hasn’t increased since WSM opened in 1988, even though other prices have more than doubled in that period. One vote per share is almost universal among co-ops. In contrast, our current system of differing votes per share is difficult to communicate and administer.
Specifically, we are considering these changes.
• Change to a single share size that costs $150 and has one vote. The current shares cost varies by household size, costing $75, $135, or $175 for a one, two, or three-or-more adult household, with one, two, or three or more votes, respectively.
• Include a low-income share for $25. A higher share amount potentially limits who can afford to join, but this would be ameliorated by having a low-income share.
• Grandfather in existing owners at whatever share amount they have paid. Raising the share amount for new owners won’t affect current owners. When a current owner leaves the co-op, we would continue to refund whatever share amount they paid, as we do today.
• For those who have paid more than $150, refund the difference.
The Board will discuss these changes at our meeting on September 14 at 6:30 PM at the WSM Food House. Please join us for that discussion, talk to us at the Co-op Fair, or send us your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Driven by Participation
WSM is a shining example of a thriving, co-op business focused on the community good. The success of WSM is driven by the participation of co-op owners. We invite you to participate in these ways:
- Come to the Co-op Fair to learn more about our co-op and our producers and to talk to the Board.
- Learn about our 2020 goals and how you can participate by the way you shop and eat.
- Volunteer to assist with one of our community projects or upcoming groups.
- Come to a monthly board meeting, typically on the second Wednesday at 6:30 PM at the Food House.
Thank you for taking our on-line survey. This survey will help benchmark us with other exemplary businesses and give us ideas for how to improve.