We’ll soon be closing the books on 2017. It’s been a great year, one marked by both tremendous progress as well as unexpected challenges. As we think about where we’ve been and look forward to the year ahead, I wanted to update you on where things stand.
On December 20, our Board unanimously approved the budget and business plan for 2018. I expect 2018 to be a very strong year, thanks to our employees and members who worked together in 2017 to fundamentally change our vision and the way we do our business.
As I wrote recently in an email to all Co-op employees, we have set ourselves up to be leaders in our industry, locally, regionally, and nationally. Our implementation of new customer-focused technology places us way ahead of anyone in the retail (grocery) business, including large national chain stores. Our Co-op Kitchen is on its way to being utilized more fully and more efficiently, and our new member- and customer-relationship system will be light years beyond anyone in the cooperative world.
In a few more weeks, when all the accounting is complete for 2017, we will know where our businesses ended this year in terms of profits. We do know that, as I write this, sales are strong, coming in higher than in 2016, and we’re on track to finish close to 2017 projections as anticipated. However, we didn’t anticipate a higher than average number of health insurance claims in 2017. Insurance claims have an effect on our financial bottom line. What the effect will be for 2017 remains to be seen. Ours is a socially responsible business, one committed to providing industry-leading benefits to our employees. Therefore, rather than make any changes to our benefit plans, we have adjusted our 2018 budget accordingly.
We should know in the next few weeks what all the final numbers will be. In the meantime, know this: you, our members, continue to make a profound social impact in the communities we serve, both locally and around the world. The co-op I believe in is enduring, optimistic, hopeful, and driven by principles, year after year. I look forward to seeing what the upcoming year has in store.
Want to talk more about it? Reach out to me anytime. My door is always open to you.