Chair of the Board Report
Financial year 2012-2013
The results from our first year are very promising and exciting. Though we incurred a loss of $10,405 (despite a projected profit of $1,390) for our first financial year, the projects completed in our first ten trading months have seen us enter the current year in a very strong position. Our Co-op is becoming profitable and is providing a range of programs for the benefit of our members and community.
We have an amazing team and community working both behind the scenes and in the shop - together we have made amazing advances this year.
First quarter: Gathered memberships to raise $50,000 & purchased Lyttel Piko
We began the financial year in a state of rapid member recruitment with the hope of raising the $50,000 initial down payment to purchase Lyttel Piko. We had, even by that time, a strong team who had written the constitution, registered the company, wrote the offering prospectus, developed the website, and pre-registered 37 household shares!
Even before we had enough members to purchase the business, we had secured an independent financial assistance share purchase program through Project Lyttelton, were providing member workshops, and had a small volunteer program. The $50,000 mark was achieved on May 15th, 2012 and the purchase organized complete with legal paperwork, a full stocktake and opening party by June 2nd when we opened our doors to the public as the Harbour Co-op for the first time. Well done Lyttelton!!
Second quarter: Owners meeting & project objectives
This quarter saw some huge business organizational changes. Bek moved into the Shop Manager role, Judith returned to the business as Office Manager, while Brian became the Managing Director, creating and launching the many programs below. We also registered our continuing prospectus, and initial and continuing prospectuses for both employee and institutional purchaser share classes - a total of six massive accounting and legal documents, and in doing so became a Multi-Stakeholder Co-op.
Our first owners' meeting was heaps of fun, with owners creating ideas which shaped the direction and successes of the first year. Together we had all identified three main project areas that would secure food resilience in the Harbour and support the future success of the co-op:
- A strong volunteer program
- A micro-producer program to support small businesses producing local products.
- Buying programs to reduce the costs of organic and wholefoods, and encourage greater numbers to do their weekly shopping locally at the Co-op & Farmer's Market.
Other people's clouds gave us a silver lining in the form of a chiller, fridge and a whole new row of bulk bins.
Third quarter: Became a financial provider, Volunteer program structure forming
By allowing any household to become an owner of the Harbour Co-op, we were technically selling securities to the public. Which meant we had to officially register to become more than a community owned resource for organic & wholefoods, but also a financial provider!
Marco Zonka became our shop manager and made the place sparkle and shine. December sales soared to new heights.
The volunteer program started to grow, with a beginning structure and incentives, and two weekly volunteers made the shop look so well organized that a potential volunteer suggested we may not need more help! Note: The Co-op will ALWAYS need help :) .
Fourth quarter: Micro-producer Launch, Bulk Buy Program, Tiered Pricing Program
The fourth quarter saw many major projects come together; Tracey became Shop Manager, utilising her excellent people skills to form a team of employees and volunteers so strong that together they have achieved five consecutive months of profitability in the current year!
The Micro-producer program was launched in March, in time for planning next season's crops; anyone who wants to grow or make products now has a clear path to sell through the Co-op.
Right at the end of the year we launched two buying programs under project number three.
- Bulk Buy program: we bring in organic goods on behalf of members at discounted rates.
- Tiered Pricing: Members who purchase larger amounts get discounts at the time of purchase.
The last owners meeting covered the details of these programs and other options to becoming profitable. The main question is how do we encourage our members to do their food shopping at the co-op instead of just buying small treats every once in a while?
Coming year: Becoming Profitable, Complete the purchase from Te Whanau Trust
While we had been discussing profitability throughout the year, our primary focus currently is how to become profitable. Mathematically there are three ways to accomplish this: increase prices, lower costs, and/or increase sales volumes of positive margin products. Between the continued growth and successes of the Volunteer program (which now has 20 fabulous regulars) and the Buying Club helping to reduce our costs, and Tiered Pricing helping members to more easily do their weekly shop at the Co-op, our figures for the 2013-2014 year to date are looking promising!
The second focus is to sell enough shares to pay our loan from Te Whanau which completes at the end of this year. Membership applications have started to arrive again since the introduction of Tiered Pricing and we are fairly confident of reaching this milestone.
We have some exciting projects lined up for next year to continue strengthening local resilience and want to hear your input and ideas. Together we can do anything - what's next for OUR Co-op?
Managing Director Report
A Co-op is defined by the people that use it – the members, the customers, the staff, the directors, the suppliers, the managers, the volunteers – all of whom are key factors in the overall success of the business. It is for that reason that the Harbour Co-op has the potential to be truly outstanding.
From its inception through its rapid realisation, the Co-op was supported by a passionate, talented, and committed group of volunteers. The high demands of the process meant that our initial steering committee of 13 eventually settled into a Board of Directors that include:
- Dana Dopleach - our incredibly detail-oriented, organised and enthusiastic Chair,
- Doug Jenkinson - our Treasurer from afar who keeps us on the straight-and-narrow of compliance,
- Nina Taylor – our Secretary who keeps us documented and properly filed, and
- Jenny Garing who offers a valuable perspective as a fellow Lyttelton business owner.
There can’t be enough said about what this group and those who came before have done in order to make this Co-op possible.
As with any pioneering organisation, this past year and a half has been filled with unanticipated challenges – all of which have been met and dutifully overcome. Once again, I’d like to offer my sincere thanks to this group.
The shop itself has gone from strength to strength with the incredible individuals who have worked in it and on it, both in paid and voluntary capacities. Our shop assistants, past and present: Yasmine, Dylan, Ella, Lucette, Sacha, Sarah, and Julia have brought an amazing amount of warmth, knowledge, enthusiasm and hard work to the business.
As Shop Manager, Bek Lynch transformed many aspects of the shop, both aesthetically and functionally creating a vibrancy that was recognised by all. Marco Zonka also brought about key changes in a short amount of time with a raft of knowledge and outside perspective which have had lasting positive effect.
Tracey Bradley (interestingly, the first employee that I ever hired) has now stepped into the role of Shop Manager and I couldn’t be more pleased with the compassion, dedication, and creativity that she brings to the position.
And of course, the shop would not be here at all if it wasn’t for Judith who has been alongside me every step of the way and who keeps a keen watch over all things administrative as the Office Manager.
With such an amazing team working together, we are all looking forward to a bright future.
We have also been fortunate enough to be able to call on an ever-growing group of volunteers who have become fundamental to the success of the shop. We currently have a fluctuating list of nearly 20 with about 12 who commit to regular weekly shifts.
Jobs include: repacking bulk items, stocking shelves, checking dates, filling up containers, receiving goods, cleaning and even serving customers… We quite literally could not operate as we do without them. A very special thanks goes out to: Juliet, Faye, Chris, Bettina, Cliff, Helen, Keith, Jenny, Jacinda, Ruby, Skye, Christy, Sarah, Lisa, Gerard, Philip, Jodi, Alison, Katiche, Robyn, Charlie, Courtney and Alyssa.
When we look at the annual reports for the last year we can see that we faced more than our share of challenges and the results were not what we had hoped for, but I can faithfully report that all indications from the current year are extremely promising with record sales in August and steadily increasing membership – currently 181 household shares have been issued.
The shop is busy and the shelves are well stocked with an outstanding range of products. We are achieving what we set out to do 18 months ago – preserve and develop the beloved organic shop for this fantastic community.
But we are also forever looking forward at what we could do and what we could become. This is where you come in… we are defined by the people who use the Co-op and your dreams and aspirations are very much a part of it. I sincerely hope that you are able to attend our AGM, or if not, that you can stop in to one of the quarterly Co-op meetings that are held throughout the year.
Every voice is heard, every contribution is valuable, every concern matters. Please help us to make the Harbour Co-op everything that it can be.
All the best,
Click here (or the title above) to download the 20 page financial statement and audit report for our first year.