Thanks for showing up to an exciting and productive annual meeting! Last week we celebrated our progress on the building of the store, discussed GM Winston Bell’s visions for a smooth opening, and elected new members to our board. The potluck meal was delicious, healthy, community-driven, and hearty, much like our vision for the Coop that we plan to open this summer (more details to come). We have an incredible amount of momentum right now, and as our chair Roya Damsaz pointed out – Every member is important. This is OUR store, we ALL have a role in making this happen! There are no private owners pulling the strings. If we succeed, it’s because we ALL played a part. If we fail, the same applies. 

Complementing the leadership of returning board members Roya DamsazTeasha Reid, and Michael Jonak, we re-elected Kristel Porter, John Flory, and Kimberly Caprini, who have all been instrumental in coordinating hundreds of hours of volunteer efforts. New to the board are some very enthusiastic and passionate members that shared their vision for a store that will represent our entire community and be a beacon of health and wellness for North Minneapolis. We elected Samantha Vang, Sandra Virula, Billie Mae BoldenCharmaine Wahlstrom, and Pat Paulson was elected as an alternate. At the moment we have more than our maximum of 9 board members, so they will all meet to decide on the final roster. We said a grateful farewell to Mark Parriott, who stepped down from his position to welcome our new board members. The group also recognized all of the past board members who have so graciously served their “thyme” to help make this store a reality after 8 long years and our audience gave a standing ovation to show their gratitude.

Our financial report, provided by John Flory, showed a very optimistic position. Funding has been secured thanks to Sunrise Banks, Community Reinvestment Fund, Shared Capital Cooperative, Hennepin County, the City of Minneapolis, and the McKnight Foundation to complement our $500,000 federal grant money. At this time, after paying for construction, equipment, closing cost and inventory, we have over $200,000 in working capital to build our dream. This provides much-needed flexibility and room to adapt to unforeseen complications. As Winston pointed out, over 1/3 of this working capital has been directly invested by members through membership dues and preferred share investments!

Winston provided some specifics on upcoming happenings prior to closing. For starters, he will be spearheading an Indigogo campaign for Wirth Bucks, which will allow the store to provide fresh produce for those that would otherwise be unable to afford these healthy offerings. In addition, with board support, Wirth will sponsor a community garden and arrange for community clean-ups this summer. We want to build momentum as we begin hiring and stocking the store!

The meeting ended with a call for action. Our store will be opening soon, and we have all the money and infrastructure we need. But we need YOU! The store cannot thrive without sweat equity, without our members helping involve the community and support the board’s efforts in shaping OUR vision.

Please reply to this email and let us know how you see yourself helping our new store thrive. Want to join the community garden crew? Help raise money for Wirth Bucks? Or join the cleanup efforts? Maybe you have a unique talent you’d like to bring to our team?

We hope every member can spend 1 hour of their time on some activity to support the opening of this amazing store. Please tell us how you’d like to participate, we’ll see you soon!