The spring Member’s Assembly meeting, held on Sunday, April 3rd, was an information-filled whirlwind of fun!
We started out with an operational update from our outgoing Board-Staff Liaison, Nicole Renaux, who is stepping down from the position to focus on her Business Team work. Nicole refreshed our memory on the financial results of 2014 and necessary actions the Worker’s Assembly took during 2015 to ensure our shared financial success. Nicole reported that the Worker’s Assembly successfully put a shade-structure on the patio, acquired a third POS terminal, opened for lunch service, and re-calibrated worker remuneration. She then passed the mic to Mike Foster, the incoming Board-Staff Liaison. Mike reported that because many of these changes took time to implement and may take longer to fully realize the effects, the co-op sustained a small loss in 2015. Mike informed the members that the Worker’s Assembly further acted in the Fall, taking a 5% wage decrease across the co-op, and started externalizing sales tax on food in early 2016. Mike noted that so far in 2016, those changes have positively impacted the co-op, and the WA is meeting the approved budget.
Kenley Maddux, Board President, then reported on the monitoring actions that the Board has taken and the Board’s role in the cooperative. The Board contracted an outside auditor specializing in cooperatives to review the co-ops books this year, meaning the final financials from 2015 will not be released until after the audit, which is scheduled for June.
For the remainder of the meeting, the members split into four groups and rotated through four stations. Each station represented a core element of the Co-op: the Worker’s Assembly, the Board, the Brewery, and the Kitchen. Each station was a blend of presentation and free flowing questions, as dictated by the desires of the particular group. It was interactive and educational, the member-owners did a great job bringing their curiosity to the exercise.
The Worker’s Assembly, as represented by Dana, Travis, and Jodi, explained in greater detail the recent operational changes, the delegation of duties, and the financial goals set at the co-op. The Board fielded questions about financial monitoring and committee work. Andy and Mike, the Beer Team, gave a tour of the brewing facility complete with discussion of sourcing and an in house beer tasting. Johnny and the Kitchen team explained the pricing strategy, the influences that inspire the eclectic pub-fare menu, and regaled us with the joys and challenges of using as many locally sourced foods as possible.
As a Member-Owner, I’d like to thank the Worker’s Assembly for bringing it! to this MA meeting, letting us Member-Owners peek inside and remind us all the Black Star is a truly unique and wonderful place to grab a locally-sourced bite and a hand-crafted brew. On behalf of the Board, big thanks to our member-owners for showing up en force and on time to participate in our democracy.