Business Review

Since 2012 the Wedge has seen competition proliferate. Whereas three years ago there were five other
stores in our marketplace focused on natural and organic foods, today there are over 30 natural food stores, co-ops, and
mainstream grocers touting local and organic in our area. “We really believe that what we offer is worth driving across
town for,” said Wedge CEO Josh Resnik. “But as other outlets have increased sixfold in three years, we’re now seeing a
real effect on our sales.”

With all of these shopping options, getting people to drive across town is becoming more difficult. Even as we continue
to serve our immediate neighborhood-sales to owners in the four nearest zip codes are up more than 13 percent-we’re
losing out further afield. Sales outside our area are down 10 percent. Altogether, the Wedge saw a modest decline in
sales at Lyndale for the first time in fiscal 2015. “I think the Wedge offers something great,” says Resnik. “But if
you’ve got another store that’s pretty good a five-minute drive away with a big parking lot, that creates a serious
challenge for our business.”

The reality is that our piece of the pie and net income is shrinking andwith that so are patronage refund checks and
Wedge Share grants. On the one hand, we are excited that people are choosing healthier, more sustainable options.
However, the value of the Wedge’s offerings can be lost in the sea of sameness- where everyone is talking up local and
organic. It makes it harder to tell our story of what makes us special, especially when we do not have the same deep
pockets or marketing dollars as many of our competitors.

While differentiating is more challenging, the Wedge does offer an exciting, vibrant
shopping experience. In terms of quality of food, knowledgeable customer service, and stringent buying
standards, the Wedge is second to none. “Other stores can put up signs that say ‘Lovin’ Local’ but they can’t match our
long-standing relationships with hundreds of local farms,” said Resnik. “At the end of the day, I know customers can
taste the difference.”

In the face of challenges, theteam at the Wedge is working harder than ever to make
the Wedge the best grocery store in America. In addition to focusing on the things that
make us great-high quality products, great customer service, and a commitment
to the co-op model-we are making changes that will set us up for a strong business in the
future. Recently we launched the Co-op Affordability Project to provide greater access,
Wedge Basics to highlight food staples at everyday low prices, and added dozens of delicious new items in the Prepared
Foods. Most notably, we are beginning a major remodel of the Lyndale store that will improve our building systems and
customer shopping experience.

At the annual meeting, Resnik said we are all in this together. In the strategic plan, the Wedge Pledge promises to
build community by developing a strong local food system. As a community-owned, values-based business we all can
contribute to a local food economy-one that supports local farms by providing them with a fair value for their harvest.
By shopping at the Wedge, we as owners continue to make it the great institution that it has been for over 40 years.
We hope to see you at the Wedge this holiday season.

Strategic Planning Result of Community Input

“There’s an implicit distinction that people think better, or stronger, means bigger and more money,”
said Wedge Board President, Marjorie Hegstrom. “But it’s really about providing more value
to our community-and that means owners, customers, staff, community partners and our wider
neighborhood.” Hegstrom and the Wedge’s Board of Directors embarked this year on a strategicplanning mission to do just
that-to regenerate an understanding of who we are as a business and what we
mean to the community-so that vision can guide the organization into the future.

It began in 2014, when the board recognized that the previous strategic plan was completed in
2009, and a lot had changed since then. So in early 2015, they started working with a consultant to build out the
framework of creating a strategic-planning process. The most important thing was
holding meetings and events to get feedback from a wide swath of concerned stakeholders “We really
wanted to hear from as many voices as possible,” said Hegstrom. Internally, learning sessions with
employees and management gave the board a more nuanced understanding of each department’s
history and strengths as well as how the changing environment impacts them. There were also three
community conversation events in the late spring, hosted at the Table, where we learned about how the
Wedge can fulfill our commitment to providing more value for customers, owners and neighborhood partners. Hegstrom said
one of the key takeaways from these discussions was how for so many people,
the Wedge is more than just a grocery store. “People do see us as leaders on the forefront of health
and nutrition and sustainability,” she said. “[They see us] as being the champions for local food
and the first place people go for those products and advice and education.”

These insights and others were assimilated into two documents- Strategic Direction and Strategic
Focus-to be used to guide the organization. “From the board’s perspective, we’ll use this information to look at the
competitive environment as we continue to expand,” said Hegstrom. “The strategic direction will help us evaluate
opportunities that come up and act as a compass
for us as we make those big policy decisions.”

The Wedge strategic direction

The Wedge will provide our owners, shoppers, farmers/producers, employees, co-ops, and broader neighborhood, city, and
regional community with:

  1. Access to a welcoming and
    convenient market to buy/sell
    healthy, trusted products and
    services emphasizing delicious local
    and organic food;
  2. Leadership and active
    participation in strengthening the
    local food system, providing a
    forum for learning and
    engagement;
  3. A pioneering model of a
    sustainable, profitable
    cooperatively owned
    business;
  4. An inclusive environment that
    serves our diverse community.

The Wedge Pledge

  1. Food System – Build community by developing a strong local food system
  2. Staff– Develop trusted, trained, empowered staff
  3. Owners – Better serve owners through an amazing shhopping experience
  4. Co-ops – Spread the co-op message and model
  5. Financial – Create a financially successful organization that supports the community.