Harbour Co-op Chair of the Board Report
Financial year 2013-2014
What a second year! The promise from the first year was delivered through the hard work of staff & volunteers with the support of the local community. Many processes were designed, created and implemented; adding up to huge time savings and smooth operations. With these changes in place, we are dreaming even bigger for next year!
Year in Review - The first quarter
Planning for profit, 'Routinising the routine', Tiered pricing
The question at the end of the first year was – how can we make our Co-op profitable so that we can afford to complete the purchase of the business and continue to trade? We looked in detail at where money came in, where it left and started to work out actions we could take to increase the difference between the two while continuing to provide great value to our owners and customers.
We identified some key areas to decrease our outgoings – upgrade the freezers ( reduced spoilage and lower electricity bills ), increase volunteer time on some specific areas ( shop tidiness, shelf organization & cheese cutting ). We also identified 'slow mover' products, those that have low, or no, turnover that were tying up resources that we could invest in new, more desirable product lines.
A dedicated group of owners created the informational background for an operational handbook, to both clarify daily operations and make it much easier to volunteer in the store. Price labelling was shifted from individual products to the shelves themselves, freeing up more staff time.
In June tiered pricing for members was introduced and has been a huge success – a new record in sales was set in June; it's normally the quietest month. The store was profitable for all three of these months – a huge landmark for the Co-op, and one that continued throughout the year, allowing us to pay off the debt of start up by the end of our second year!
Product stocking changes, Office program upgrades, Visioning the Co-op future
Having identified slow moving products in Q1, products were cleared to free up resources and create space & cash to bring in new items. At the same time we also identified 'fast movers' – those items that need to be in stock at all times – and set up systems to make keeping good stock levels of those items much easier, while also increasing our margins through bulk purchasing.
There were two huge changes in the back office – Judith shifted to Xero for accounts and Thankyou Payroll for staff payroll. Both are great applications but shifting is a huge undertaking that pretty much fell on Judith's lap with remote assistance from Doug ( queue round of applause for Judith & Doug ). These shifts have made Judith's job less about administrative routine and freed up some of her time to help drive the co-op forward.
This was also the quarter that Tracey suggested we hold visioning workshops for members, staff & volunteers. Through these sessions, some fabulous ideas surfaced for how life in the shop could be improved with small or large changes - after all, happy staff is key to the success of the co-op.
A trial 'Farmers market' delivery service was launched – home delivery on Saturday afternoon anywhere in the harbour basin for $5, so people could walk or cycle to the market without having to lug their bounty home themselves.
Organising the stores, getting local, and a smooth holiday season
Two of the big changes in this quarter were implementing some of the suggestions from the visioning sessions, by improving the organization of the inbound goods room and labelling the origin of fresh produce items so members can easily find our local harbour microproducers' produce and know where fruit and veg purchased in the shop is grown.
Brian installed new shelving in the storage room and, with owner help, introduced structured systems and processes to make ongoing organisation quicker and easier for everyone involved.
The largest achievement of this quarter was seeing operations glide through the very busy holiday season without a glitch, thanks to the smooth efficiency of the processes set up earlier in the year.
We have come a very long way from the early struggles to find the time just to get products on the shelves and staff the checkout. Well done to everyone that has taken the time to dream of what our little store could be.
Five year plan, eCommerce website, Sharing what we've learnt
From the visioning sessions in the second quarter the board pulled the information together and produced a flexible five year plan. The focus over the coming years is to
- Continue to increase the volume and range of local products that we carry
- Provide more educational materials
- Expand the business into more of our building
- Set up a smoothie/juice/soup-bar
- Open an organic garden centre
A new Harbour Co-op website was created offering a growing range of products for sale online. Along with a platform for widely sharing educational materials as we create them. All staff and some volunteers may update the site's content to facilitate this process and to assure it reflects our business.
We have also taken the step to Open Source our constitution and prospectuses under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License to allow other groups in NZ who want to set up a co-op have a much easier start up than ours. Already Brian has been invited to speak on the topic in Nelson, where a group is researching the possibility of starting a local food co-op.
Overall it was a fantastic year for the Co-op. Huge steps forward have been made in profitability, staff happiness, operational systems improvements, meeting our core organisation's aims, and creating a clear direction for the future along with the systems to allow us to chase those dreams.
Harbour Co-op Managing Director’s Report
Financial year 2013-2014
I have said it before, but I’ll say it again: the Co-op is blessed with an extraordinary mix of members, customers, staff, directors, suppliers, managers and volunteers. And the strength of our last financial year is a fitting testament to them all. It is with this growing group of individuals that we look forward to an exciting vision for the future.
Guiding this journey is our fabulous Board of Directors: Dana at the helm keeping us organised, Doug with his financial acumen from afar, and our newest director Simon, who as Deputy Chair brings welcome insight into legal and compliance related issues. We sadly say goodbye to Nina who has embarked on the journey of motherhood and Jenny who is focusing her energy on her business. But we are fortunate to welcome Jodi as our Minutes Secretary and Tracey, our shop manager, has put her name forward to formally take up the role of a Director – officially representing the Employee Shareclass.
In the shop we – as always – have an incredible team on board: Tracey and Judith keep things ticking along behind the scenes, and Julia, Lillee, Charlotte, Phoebe, and Gina - all contribute to a warm, welcoming and industrious workplace. Sadly we’ve also had to say goodbye to some great staff over the past year and we wish Sacha, Simone, Sarah-Jane, Ella and Lucette all the best in their current endeavours.
Our amazing group of volunteers are still very busy repacking bulk items, stocking shelves, checking dates, filling up containers, receiving goods and cleaning. Participation varies from several times a week to once in a while, but we are thankful for each and every contribution from: Juliet, Helen, Keith, Robyn, Elke, Courtenay, David, Charlie, Alison, Shona, Jocelyn, Bettina, Chris, Alyssa, Lisa, Cliff, Angus and Gerard (and any others who we may have missed!) We can always use more help to make the Co-op even better, so if you have a bit of time, we’d love to have you…
You, our owners, are the foundation of what we do at the Co-op. Currently there are 188 shareholders and we look forward to that number increasing. We feel that we are now, after completing such a successful financial year, able to focus on the exciting plans which we have set for the future. This includes a possible expansion within our current premises to include a yoga studio, meeting space, treatment rooms, juice and raw food bar, and organic garden centre. We are also about to launch a new logo and new look for the Co-op that will better capture what we are and where we’re going – we can’t wait to share it with you.
We hope that you are able to make it to the AGM to help celebrate a great year and help us to shape the exciting one to come…
All the best,
Click here (or the title above) to download the 20 page financial statement and audit report for our second year.