By Janet Welch, Board President
The miracles of electronic communications allowed 622 members to weigh in, repeatedly as the rankings changed, on what qualities they valued most in a Food Coop facility.
Many members also took the opportunity to include comments, either in the comment box or by sending a letter to Coopboard@foodcoop.coop. Those comments will provide the Board with further insight in the creative ways that members are thinking about our facility. Keep those letters coming; we love hearing what you are thinking. We hear that a few members believe that we’re just “going through the motions” of getting input and that our minds are made up about what we want to do. Nothing could be farther from the truth! We love our location, but it has problems with drainage and no space to expand. Everything is on the table as far as our evolution; we are actively looking for ways to retain what we value most, while planning for the long term as more members shop in the store.
Here are the results:
Report date: Monday 02 February 2015 10:07 PST
The Food Co-op Facility Advisory Poll
|1||Ample space for produce, local and bulk||519||83.44|
|2||Efficient workspace (backroom and receiving)||356||57.23|
|3||Accessible by bus, bike or walking||335||53.86|
|5||Modest scale with country store feel (not “trendy”)||279||44.86|
|6||Adequate parking for a growing membership||246||39.55|
|7||Visible location, central to community||223||35.85|
|8||More storage to keep backstock of product( for food security, etc.) on site or off||159||25.56|
|9||Sized for growing membership (larger, more spacious facility)||133||21.38|
|10||Adaptable, expandable facility (possibly through modular design)||124||19.94|
|11||Sized for full service (one stop shopping)||96||15.43|
|12||Some functions or departments off site||54||8.68|
|13||Space for recycling, including #5 plastics write-in||44||7.07|
|14||Delivery service (bike or otherwise) to offset need for additional parking||38||6.11|
|15||Engaging transitional entryways with room for produce, starts, etc.||31||4.98|
|16||Space for seated dining write-in||30||4.82|
|17||Site on higher ground, to avoid water damage write-in||16||2.57|
|18||Off site warehouse write-in||12||1.93|
One advantage to inviting the entire membership to participate in the poll was to test for similarities and the differences between the responses gathered at the member meeting and through the poll. The similarities were notable. So were the differences.
One of the striking similarities was the importance that both groups placed on three qualities: an efficient workspace; ample space for produce, local, and bulk; and a capacity for food storage. “Energy efficiency” and “accessibility by bus, bike, or walking” both rose decisively in the poll as members continued to rank their preferences. I thought it was interesting that, among meeting participants, one of the most important qualities was “retain central location” while on the poll this dropped to #7. Perhaps the importance of location was heightened at the meeting because of the discussion we had about the implications of moving.
What is next?
In the process we’ve laid out for the “evolution” of our facilities, Phase 1 culminates with a prioritized list of essential facilities qualities. We are hoping to sift through the poll results and the comments to create that list by late March. Phase 2 will involve brainstorming as many options as we can and then whittling them down to create a short list of options that will best address our short and long-term needs while providing as many of the essential qualities as possible. Then we’ll bring those options back to the membership for more input. This will be a very creative time, since we’ve found that no obvious option could possibly give everyone everything that they want. Stay tuned!