Board's Eye View

An Update On Expansion

Greetings Moscow Food Co-op owners! Looking for an update on expansion? Look no further!

If we haven’t met yet, I am Joe Gilmore, Co-op IT Manager and the Project Manager for our Pullman expansion. At our expansion forums last fall none of us knew the details of what we were getting ourselves into.  Many of you have been clamoring for more information and some of you have even stepped up to offer your help in whatever way you could. This has been a learning process for everyone, Board, management, owners, and myself.

Missed the forum? Interested in a little background information? You can head to our website to get a little bit of the backstory at the link below.

http://www.moscowfood.coop/faq

Let’s update you on what has been happening. There is A LOT more to opening a second store than just getting some land and hiring a contractor. Some of the work falls to store management, and some of it falls to the Board. One of the initial steps to getting a new store off the ground is being able to secure funding. Organizations that will lend us money will be quite keen to go over the documents that define who are and how we operate. Some of these documents are the Articles of Incorporation, our bylaws, and our board policies. In the last few months, your Board has been hard at work taking a look at our existing documents, gathering feedback on best practices and potential pitfalls, and getting the input of the owners in order to make these documents as clear and concise as possible.

Updating the bylaws can be a tricky process. The Board can vote to temporarily adopt bylaws, but they must be ratified by owners at a special meeting or the next annual meeting. The Board took templates from CDS Consulting Co-op and built some new bylaws for us. After finishing the draft, they invited owners to serve on a committee to review these proposed changes. After some minor alterations they have been passed back to the Board and are awaiting discussion from the owners. Two forums have been called. The first was in Moscow on June 27 and was an information session intended to provide background. The second forum will be held Monday, July 18 at Paradise Creek Brewery in Pullman from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. You can find more information from the link below.

http://www.moscowfood.coop/board-news

One other large piece of work is the launching of a capital campaign. Our identity as a co-op means that we raise money differently and we would like to borrow the capital needed for a second stare from you, our owners. We have run into some legal hurdles, the biggest cause of which is that we are expanding across state lines. There is non-profit corporation law (Idaho has no legal definition of co-op) that we must adhere to and we are doing our best to make sure we are crossing our t’s and dotting our i’s. Rest assured, we are making progress and will be asking for your support and involvement in the future.

In short, the board is working tirelessly to make sure that all the big picture items are taken care of.

So what about some of the nuts and bolts related to opening a store? The big questions like where is it going to be, when will it open, what will it look like? We are working our hardest to answer those questions, but until those updated bylaws are approved by the members and we have the capital campaign finalized, all we can do is plan. To that end, we have reached out to talk to land owners and developers to ask them about options in Pullman, and some of our owners have even volunteered their time and expertise. I can tell you it has been an eye opening experience. We are making progress, and friends, will continue to do so. I promise, owners will be the first to know when we have made a decision.

Questions? I’d be surprised if you didn’t have any. To stay involved and up to date, please attend the Bylaws forum at Paradise Creek Brewery on Monday, July 18 at 6:30 PM and keep an eye out for future expansion forums. We also have a vacancy on the Board of Directors. It’s a great way to get involved at a hands-on level. You can find more information about applying to be on the Board of Directors here. Also, please continue to direct your questions at growth@moscowfood.coop. The Board, our General Manager, Melinda Schab, and I are fielding those questions as they come in.