Fall Notes from the GM

By Pat Burns, General Manager

Member Work

We’ve been talking to Members about shifting Member Work out to our Community Outreach Partners for a couple of years now. Most recently, I shared information in my August Onion Skin article. Unfortunately, last week’s Seven Days article talking about co-ops that are “killing off” their Member Worker Programs (above a picture of City Market), may have confused the issue for some of you.

Please be assured that we are planning no such action. In fact, we are expanding the options for Member Workers by continuing to move more of these hours out of the Co-op to our non-profit partners. We’ve always had a very limited number of slots available in-store, but we make Member Work available to many more Members through the options with our Community Outreach Partners.

This allows us to continue a trend that began two years ago that has been well received by our Members. Last year almost 60% of Member Work was with these non-profit partners; we continue to hear from these partners how wonderful our Members are and how much they appreciate the volunteer work! An added benefit, of course, is that as we phase out in-store Member Work, we’ll be adding a few new paid positions. As usual, if you have questions on this process, please feel free to reach out!

Member Meeting

We are trying a new day, time, format and location for Member Meeting this year! We have reserved space at Memorial Auditorium for Wednesday, September 17 from 5 to 7pm. We’re hoping for a “social mixer” environment, but will still spend a brief period introducing the Board and the slate of Board candidates, as well as reviewing some highlights from the last fiscal year.

Relocating allows more space for more Members to attend; our usual white tent in the parking lot was maxed out. Based on survey data from last year, we changed the day and time hoping that it might be more convenient for many Members. You should have received an invitation postcard in your mailbox last month. Please RSVP by Monday, September 8 and join us for a light dinner, cash bar and music! Burlington City Arts and the YMCA will also be offering childcare for children above 5 years old and the 5 and younger crowd, respectively. Join us for what will be a fun evening among old friends and new!

Harvest Celebration & Harvest Run

We’ve also relocated our annual Harvest Celebration to Memorial Auditorium this year; mark your calendars for Sunday, October 5 from noon to 4pm. The new space allows us to introduce you to more of our local farmers and producers and also provides space for our non-profit and cooperative partners. Make new friends, try free samples, and enjoy live music and kids’ activities!

The morning of our Harvest Celebration (Sunday, October 5), we’ll hold the annual Harvest Run/Walk for Sustainability with our friends from the Sustainability Academy. This fun event takes place in the Intervale! Race day registration starts at 9am and the races start at 10am with the Kids’ 1K (followed by a 5K and a post-race celebration). Sign up before the pre-registration deadline of September 29! Where else can you see your school principal running in a corn cob costume?

Board Elections

We’ve been calling for Members to “Run for the Board!” all summer now. The deadline for submitting applications is today (Friday, September 5) and we hope to have our usual robust slate of candidates to offer. Online voting will take place starting Wednesday, October 1 through Tuesday, October 21. More information coming to our website and your mailboxes soon!

Patronage Refunds

Earlier this summer, we celebrated 10,000 Members with free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Over 65% of purchases made at City Market are attributable to these thousands of Members. So here’s a little teaser to keep your eyes open for information about this year's Patronage Refund Checks. Checks will be heading your way in early November along with a detailed flyer about your options (cash, donate, use for equity, or don’t cash and you’ll fund our non-profit grants). More details to follow on our website and in your mailboxes soon!

Our Membership Department has been devoting much time and effort to planning our fall events, and I truly hope that people will take advantage of these new and exciting opportunities to celebrate our success at City Market. I’ll end by thanking you for your continued support of the Co-op.

We depend on your patronage for our success; we’re all owners in this together!