2013 Year in Review
Coastal Organics Cooperative turned a corner in 2013. With the enthusiastic support of the community, our natural food grocery store, Arena Market and CafÃ©, grew in many ways.
We started the year with Linda Kneifel as our General Manager. Linda brought enthusiasism and marketing skills as well as interest in learning our point-of-sale cash-register system. She tuned into our shoppersâ€™ wants and needs and introduced some great new products. During her management, the store restructured the staff that placed Mike Sakellaridis on the floor as Grocery Coordinator and hired Andy Riggs as Kitchen Manager. Andy brought clarity to our deli food costs and prepared our Valentineâ€™s Day Dinner Fundraiser. We amassed almost $500 from that event and earmarked the funds for our failing walk-in refrigerator compressor, which we just replaced thanks to several generous contributors!
After examining our perilous financial situation, the board worked on ways to save money during the year. Our liberal 5% discount was expensive and we asked the membership to approve cutting it down to 2%. True to the magnanimous and altruistic nature of our coastal community, the majority of co-op members decided to forego all discounts and help us turn red into black!
In early summer, Linda left us and we hired Mike Sakellaridis as interim manager. He has since been appointed our General Manager. Mike brings his incredible passion and verve for natural foods, his wholehearted commitment to our co-op, and his penchant for excellence in customer relations, all of which creates a more enticing experience for shoppers. Mike grew up around restaurants and his business management skills are taking our store to a favorable outcome. He is also a techie kind of guy who has embraced our point-of-sales system, Catapult, and his iPod Touch. Look out for Mike wandering the store making orders as he goes!
Our wine department was revamped by Dan Wormhaudt, a dedicated board member. He looked at our margins and the fact that we sell more reds than whites by at least 3 to 1. He crafted a new selection that has proven to be favorable and supported by our customers. Many outstanding local wines were introduced as well as delicious French imports at reasonable prices. Dan also was the man who arranged for the amazing artisan cheeses from Pennyroyal Farms, affiliated with Navarro Vineyards, that are now available for your enjoyment!
Board members once again stepped up to improve the store's appearance and the purple swirl was painted off the wall. Some benches were removed to allow for better seating, some pillows mysteriously appeared and voila! the CafÃ© area was gently transformed.
One of our members was responsible for the Propane Buying Club. He arranged a discount offer for co-op members to purchase propane from Suburban Gas at cut-rate prices. We have had people join the co-op just to get the incredible low price on propane! Many thanks and kudos to this memberâ€™s awesome initiative and strong engagement with our community!
The Bulk Department is undergoing remodelling by Phil Clark, another board member. Look for oils, honey, tamari and other new bulk items appearing there soon.
Two new board members were elected at our membership meeting held in September, Molly Morgan and Rick Beach. We now have a full board of directors and great progress is made for the financial stability of our co-op each day as Rick continues his behind-the-scenes contributions that have provided valuable financial expertise in helping the store stay open!
Early indications of our financial results look promising for the full year of 2013. We expect a more complete report in the next month.
With the help of the community, the co-op stands stable with a bright future.