From the Board of Directors – Strategic Planning Update

Two years ago (Fall 2013) the Board of Directors set out on a mission to develop a set of strategic priorities for the Co-op for the next three to five years.  This process culminated in a set of four strategic priorities and three on-going commitments.  This was a collaborative process with some of the Co-op staff and Board members who gave some thought to a bigger direction that our store should move towards.   Here are those priorities and updates on each one:

“Assist in the development of local food hub/processing facility.”

Done.  A facility with coolers and freezers in West Union has been purchased and a refrigerated truck is delivering northeast Iowa produced goods throughout eastern Iowa.  The food hub is growing at a significant rate and is doing some strategic planning of its own on branding and expanding into more markets in surrounding states.

“Expand facility with kitchen classroom.”

Done.  We opened the doors to our new Co-op Kitchen Classroom in the newly purchased building next to our Water St. location in September 2014.

  • Number of classes offered at the Co-op in 2014: 154 (+62% over 2013)
  • Number of participants: 1,141 (+48% over 2013)

“Increase Purchases from Local Vendors.”

Ongoing.  We made progress in local purchases in 2014 and crossed the $1 million mark for local sales, but this strategic priority will be a focus for our staff in 2015.  Our local sales and purchases are growing at an annual rate of about +13%.

“Implement patronage dividend program – contingent upon profitability.”

Ongoing.  We implemented our first patronage dividend in the current store location to member/owners last year!  Future patronage dividends are a board decision based on the profitability and financial condition of the store.

Because this was such a successful process, the board and some staff will be participating in another series of strategic planning sessions with a consultant from the University of Iowa’s Institute of Public Affairs this spring and early summer.  Our outcome will be another set of priorities for the next 3 – 5 years.

We seek your input and invite you to share any thoughts at our regular Board meetings every fourth Tuesday of the month.  We hope to see some of you at one of these meetings, or you can always contact one of your Board members if you have an idea.  Contact information for the Co-op Board of Directors can be found on page 16 of this publication.

These graphs & more from the Annual Report can be found online at: