Dear Fellow Member-Owners,
At our annual membership meeting in October, Wedge management and the board of directors outlined our upcoming expansion/remodeling campaign and explained how it would affect our patronage refunds this year and for the next few years, as well as how members could support the co-op’s expansion through investment in our C-share stock offering. We realize that not all members were able to attend this year’s meeting, so here is a recap of this important information.
Expansion. We are now in the final process prior to purchasing a building for our new offsite commissary, which will remove the deli kitchen and bakery from the store, providing additional space for features long desired by members. Selection of an architect for the commissary will take place later in January. Planning for the store renovation is underway, but construction will probably not begin until early 2015. As announced earlier, we do intend to add a second Wedge store following the Lyndale renovation.
C-Shares. We really appreciate your response to our request that you purchase C-shares! These are an essential element of the financing package for the commissary and the store renovation. As of early December, 230 members had agreed to purchase $1.365 million in C-shares, a huge achievement! The program will continue at least through mid-January to give more members a chance to participate. Additional information about the program can be found at wedge.coop/co-op-resources/investment-opportunity. Many thanks to those who have already signed up!
Patronage Refund. We received patronage refund checks in early November. In the past decade, the Wedge typically returned 60 percent of the patronage refund in cash, with 40 percent going into the co-op’s retained earnings, but this year, we returned only 20 percent in cash, placing 80 percent in retained earnings. This 20/80 split is typical for many co-ops, but represents a significant change for The Wedge. The new strategy is due to our expansion and renovation, and allows all of us to fulfill our responsibility, as owners, to help finance important capital improvements to the co-op through retained earnings. Had we paid 60 percent of the patronage refund in cash as in past years, we would have had to finance an additional $500,000 of the store renovation through loans—not a prudent use of the co-op’s resources.
This is an exciting time to be a member-owner of The Wedge Co-op. While members overwhelmingly support our expansion/remodeling initiative, we realize that many of us will miss, what has become in recent years, a generous patronage refund check this time of year. However, it is our ability and willingness to combine our resources as member-owners that help set the co-op business model apart from the corporate world, and by doing so, we are ensuring a stronger and more vital Wedge Co-op. Thanks to all of you for your support of The Wedge!
The Wedge Board of Directors