Board Meeting Minutes for April 26, 2017

Chicago Market Board Meeting, 4/26/17
At Emily's house
Present: Grant, Anthony, Greg, Mike, Heather, Linn, Emily, Dan, Karen, Jen, Kelly, Bill
Guests: Dana, Audrey

Notes: Heather

Grant: Kudos to the Site Team (as he holds up the initial, proposed architectural renderings of the store at the Wilson site). Kudos to Greg for all of the community meetings he has had.

Grant: Here's a reminder that the reason Owner Insider was developed was because we thought we weren't communicating well with Owners. We're still not communicating with Owners. We need a follow-up to the recent Owner session.

Anthony: I'll draft something tomorrow. 

Grant:  We're not addressing the community's questions. We need to do regular blogging about community meetings, etc.

Bill: Presented financial report. We're going in the right direction in terms of assets. People are being more circumspect with how we spend money. We cancelled our contract with the card-swiper company because it was too expensive. We switched to Chase. Our installment-payment plan is working out well. And we have a new system underway to manage money at pop-ups. 

Linn: Hillary found a space for the June 10 pop-up but it will cost $454. Vendors pay $25 each and it's a big space. Board OKs this expense. 

Grant: Next item is the Board's leadership. Anthony built our leadership survey. The leadership team received a 6.6 score out of 10 for keeping projects on track. How can we improve?

Anthony: People want more leadership and less management.

Grant: There is room for improved communication about what everyone is going. Grant is trying to post narratives to the Community Bulletin Board to keep everyone abreast, to acknowledge that not everyone has access to all Basecamp projects. It's good for volunteers to see this. 

Grant: The pressure is on me to write a big-picture timeline.

Emily: I would like more guidance or permission in terms of what is a priority. If we could get priorities from the Leadership Team, maybe in the form of a timeline, that would help.

Jen: We need to make sure at the committee-level, who is dropping things, that we're communicating to the team liaison. 

Grant: I want more people to say, "I'm in the weeds. I need help."

Anthony: There's also a suggestion box in the Community Bulletin Board. A place to submit anonymous comments, if you like. It's open to anyone with access to that board.

Bill: The amount of information we get is overwhelming. It's a very complex thing we're doing. We can get introspective and overcritical but we're getting things done.

Karen: We can re-purpose Grant's posts from the Community Bulletin Board to post on the blog to share with Owners.

Karen: We all need to do better of noting when we're unable to do things, when we're outof twon or unavailable. Note it on the Google calendar. 

Jen: We need a project plan with each task and how it fits into the big picture.

Grant: I'm struggling with that. For me to post major milestones, I need to get thoe from each team. I don't have them. 

Kelly: I will add that to the MORE agenda to do on Sunday. 

Mike: There needs to be whip cracking. I've seen more of that and I think that's good. The Leadership Team needs to be empowered to do that. We also need to be OK with reallocating tasks if someone can't get to them. 

Karen: I still feel a lack of "looking beyond." What's next? What happens if we don't get Wilson? I would like the Leadership Team to work on that. 

Dan: We are. We're looking at other sites. 

Mike: It's hard to put together a timeline until we have a site. 

Emily: For folks like Linn who are running a parallel process, the pop-ups, a lot of us need to know what we're saying to the public about our plans. 

Jen: We need an opportunity to sit and get together and not talk shop. I want to see that on the agenda. I want to make sure there's Board health. 

Anthony: Here are some messaging talking points, in case you're interviewed. Our environment is sensitive right now, with so many community groups invested. Emphasize the obvious facts: We are a grocery store. Not a food hall or a CSA or a farmers' market. We are a full-service grocery store. It's not seasonal.

Our site will have parking. We're looking at a lot that will be adjacent to the building. It will have about 50 spots. We are pursuing it. 

We are not elitist or members'-only. Anyone can shop here. We're working on accessible pricing. We're working on accepting LINK. 

Anthony: We're working on more options to make ownership affordable. We will take state and federal food aid. 

Bill: I got asked this morning if we've ever run a grocery store. We'll hire a proven store manager after a nationwide search. We are working with national grocery co-op organizations. 

Anthony: Do not say we're "rescuing Uptown" or anything like that. Uptown is not a food dessert. We're creating a business that will make Chicago Market a destination. 

Jen: We're adding to the local food options. Our market study shows there is continued demand for what we offer. 

Karen: Co-ops strengthen neighborhoods. 

Anthony: The safety issue. Be cautiously honest. We're a big, bright grocery store. We will have security. We will be well-trafficked. 

Mike: There's a whole lot on that corner that's changing that dynamic.

Anthony: Normally, we don't compare ourselves to other businesses. But it's OK to say we stand as a counterpoint to the typical CTA businesses like Dunkin Donuts. We're a mission-driven business. We're not allowed to do things that do not benefit the community. 

Jen: These messages need to get out. This is good social media fodder.

Grant: We need to get more people signing our petition, to strengthen our RFP submission. Instead of just sharing the petition, make it a personal ask. Add it to your email signature. 

Mike: We need to register as lobbyists with the city of Chicago. We are lobbying city officials to work on behalf of the co-op. It's $350/year for one person to be a lobbyist. You have to submit quarterly reports on your activities. I think Greg and Grant should be our lobbyists. It's an easy online registration. It fits with our mission to be transparent. It should happen immediately.

Mike: I will look into whether the CTA has its own ethics policy. 

The Board agreed that Grant and Greg should be registered as lobbyists with the city. 

Grant adjourned the meeting. 

Showing 2 reactions.

  • Grant Kessler
    Aubrey, we agree and thanks for the pointer. We’ll be adding it to a Wilson FAQs post that’s coming soon.
  • Aubrey Scheffey
    The LINK information is super important to this community, can you put it in your FAQs or at least redirect some of the FAQs to board meeting notes?

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