On Wednesday, February 28, our Co-op presented the 2017 financial report to our Board of Directors, officially closing out the year. Last year was a year of great change, and our entire Co-op team responded with exceptional teamwork, innovation, and creativity. I’m pleased to report that all the hard work paid off. We ended 2017 on great footing, putting us in a solid position for the year ahead.
In 2017, our Co-op posted a gain of $172,224 after taxes. This is great news, but it’s also important to understand that we posted a loss of $42,317 before taxes. What does this mean for members
First and foremost, it means our Co-op ended the year in the black—exactly where we want to be. It also means that, despite our earnings, the Co-op will not be able to offer a Patronage Refund, since Patronage Refunds are calculated partially before taxes.
Fortunately, a Patronage Refund is not the only way to provide economic value to members. Our Co-op also offered members significant discounts in 2017 through Member Appreciation Days. These discounts, offered only to members, provide much greater economic value than the single yearly Patronage Refunds that have been offered in the past.
Of course, the best way to provide economic value to our members, employees, and the communities we all serve is to strengthen our collectively owned cooperative. And in 2017, teams of members, board members, and employees worked together to fundamentally change our vision and the way we do our business. As a result, we have set ourselves up to be leaders in our industry, locally, regionally, and nationally.
Here are just a few of the highlights:
We eliminated at-will language from our Employee Handbook, replacing it with language much more in line with our values and principles.
We created a new vision—Nourish, Cultivate, Cooperate—to help guide us in our decision-making.
We implemented an advanced new customer-focused technology suite, placing us way ahead of anyone in our industry, including large national chain stores.
We made a new plan for our Co-op Kitchen, utilizing it much more fully and efficiently.
We laid the groundwork for a new member- and customer-relationship system, one that will be light years beyond anyone in the cooperative world.
In short, our Co-op had an amazing year. My thanks to all of our members for working together to make this happen. Because of you, we continue to make a profound impact in the communities we serve, both locally and around the world.
Members who would like copies of our Annual Report, Ends Report, and other financials can find them on our website after our Annual Meeting. Want to learn more about our work in 2017 and our vision for the year ahead? Please come to the Annual Meeting on Saturday, April 7. The meeting will be held from 10 a.m. to noon at the Listen Community Center in White River Junction, Vt. In an informal business meeting over brunch and coffee, we’ll talk about where we’ve been and where we’re going. I’d love to see you there and get your input.
In the meantime, if you have questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. My door is always open to you.