NEWSLETTER 25th July 2012 Issue 4

Hello Everyone!

Well it’s been a busy first couple of months for the Co-op with the transition still requiring heaps of time and energy, but things finally appear to be settling down and we can focus on making the daily running of the shop even better. 

You’ll undoubtedly have noticed some cosmetic changes – with things getting moved around and re-organised, but there have also been some significant changes behind the scenes.  Bek Lynch has stepped fully into the role of Shop Manager, while Brian is focusing on the future of the Co-op as Managing Director (as well as spending more time with his lovely children). 

Some of you will remember Judith Koehler (Brian’s partner) who co-founded Lyttel Piko.  She is back with the team as Office Manager and has recently taken over as Membership Co-ordinator. 

Of course we still have the smiling faces of Tracey Bradley and Dylan Hawes serving you behind the till and keeping the shop ticking along. 

There is also a very important group whom you don’t see, and that’s our Board of Directors which is made up of volunteers from the community: Nina Sřot, Dana Dopleach, Doug Jenkinson, and Jenny Garing.  I’m sure you’ll all join together in extending our appreciation and best wishes to all of the Harbour Co-op team.

Let’s Get Together…

Now it’s your turn to get involved, which brings us to our very first Shareholder’s Meeting! 

Please mark your calendars for Saturday, September 15th at 4pm at Naval Point (directions will be available on the website and at the shop).  So far the agenda for the meeting is as follows:

  1. To deliver financial figures of the first quarter. 
  2. To introduce and discuss the business' mission and aims. 
  3. To elect directors (we are particularly interested to hear from anyone who has experience as a company secretary or who at least has strong legalistic leanings).
  4. Discuss topics as requested by the members.  This last one is crucial and key to the success of OUR Co-op.  We want everyone to have a voice and this will be a perfect opportunity.  If there is something on your mind – please put it out there. 

There will be a suggestions/comments box in the shop for you to submit your thoughts beforehand or feel free to email: brian@harbourcoop.co.nz

We will be privileged to have this meeting facilitated by Manfred Friedrich, an expert in Dynamic Governance (aka Sociocracy) which we have found to be an incredibly valuable tool in group decision making (find out more on www.governancealive.com).  Your voice really will be heard and solutions to problems will develop naturally and energetically out of the process… We hope to see as many of you there as possible and encourage you to stay for a pot-luck dinner following the meeting.  

Harb-OUR Co-op needs YOU!!!

But that’s not the only way in which you can be involved…

If you were to talk to any business owner they would tell you that in order for a business to succeed they need to put in their time and money… Well we’ve already asked you for the latter and your response was outstanding.  Now we’re asking for just a little bit of the former. 

If each of us were to contribute two hours a month in the shop, this would be equivalent to hiring two more full time employees!  This would have an incredible impact on the quality and quantity of goods and services that the Co-op could offer.  In order to facilitate this process, we have the following system in place: 

  • Every week has been broken down into thirteen two hour shifts. 
  • These have been further broken down into categories:
    • six packing shifts,
    • three cleaning shifts,
    • three stocking shifts and
    • one processing shift (cutting and wrapping cheese/butter, mixing and packing scroggin, etc). 

We are looking for people to sign up for regular weekly, fortnightly, or monthly time slots.  This means that you and we will know well in advance what you will be doing and when. 

In exchange for your service, we are currently offering the following incentive:  for every two hour shift that you complete, you will receive 10% off your purchases for that day (for up to $200 worth of goods). 

As we are trying to maintain a roster and continuity for the shop we expect that members will work their chosen time slots, or make arrangements for the hours to be made up or filled in by another member if they are unable to work.  None of the tasks require special skills or much training, but some will require heavy lifting – so if this is an issue, we ask that you notify us when you apply. 

If you are keen to roll up your sleeves and get to work, please contact Bek in person at the shop or on shop@harbourcoop.co.nz.  This is a great opportunity to be more involved with the Co-op, help out the shop, and even have a bit of fun – schedule a time with a mate and make a date of it!

In the pipeline…

So what’s next for the Co-op? 

Well, we are currently working on a Prospectus that will offer specific shares to Employees and Institutional Purchasers (Businesses/Organisation). 

Following the international models of Multi-stakeholder Co-ops, we are looking to provide ownership options for all key stakeholders of the business, while supporting our aims and objectives.  One key group that we are trying to foster is Local Producers.  Due to the complexity and legalities surrounding public offerings, we are postponing the share issue for this last group, but we are determined to continue the dialogue and find ways in which the Co-op can encourage local resilience and secure a robust local food supply. 

If you are able to contribute in any way to this discussion – especially if you are a local grower or processor, we encourage you to drop us a line…

And in related news: there is a group which has just started to meet regularly that is assessing the feasibility of setting up a local currency system – anyone else keen to be involved?

Workshops need work…

Thanks to all who’ve attended or contributed to workshops thus far…

We have been working out the process as we go and are endeavouring to make them more accessible and better organised.  

At the moment we will be taking a wee break from our weekly schedule while holidays are had and systems are sorted out.  If there is anyone else out there who is keen to present a workshop or who has ideas on future topics please jump up and down with your hand in the air and say “OO! OO! OO!”