Announcement to All Members of the Leverett Village Co-op
PLEASE COME TO AN IMPORTANT BOARD MEETING OPEN TO MEMBERS
TUESDAY OCTOBER 29TH FROM 7:30-9:30 PM (Place to be announced, probably the Leverett Town Hall)
Recently it has become clear that the Leverett Co-op is in a severe financial crisis, since we now owe nearly $200,000 to our vendors, our bank and for other services. This has meant that we have a serious cash flow crisis and cannot pay our vendors on time. A number of them will no longer deliver products to us without cash on delivery. Since we do not have the money to pay them in cash, we have had to negotiate with some for extended payment options and others are no longer delivering us products, which explains our reduced level of stock in the store. Loyal members have been helping out by purchasing pre-paid cards to help with our cash flow problem but we don’t have enough products on the shelves for them to buy! As a result, we simply do not have enough people shopping at the store or the restaurant to solve the problem without an extra infusion of capital. And unfortunately the bank and other lending groups that we have been working from to re-mortgage the store have recently turned us down in our requests for loans.
At the emergency Board meeting last Tuesday October 15, Board member Jono Neiger put forward the sketch of an interim plan to cut costs by various means, including volunteers to purchase stocks directly from BJs or Restaurant Depot or other alternatives. His plan also suggests a re-assessment of staff and professional consultant costs, increasing the use of volunteers, and expanding the Co-op Board. Other options unfortunately may include selling the building (our only asset) in order to keep the Coop in business as a renter, or going into bankruptcy and trying to re-organize the business after paying off some of our debts. Some of these options will be discussed further at this upcoming Board meeting.
Most of these choices are difficult ones and should include as many members as possible since this is a democratically-owned business! In a Co-op, member-owners should have regular input and the final say over such tough choices. At the upcoming meeting we will discussing new candidates who have applied to join the Board, will hear from the President of the Board about her recommended options, and will have a report from the accountant about the financial situation of the Co-op.
Please make your voices heard and try to come to this meeting!! Spread the word! We need your help and input in order to have this valuable community center and service survive.
From Ann Ferguson, chair, Membership Committee
Leverett Village Co-operative Board
PS Spread the word about the date and I will send another message confirming the place of the meeting, either at the Leverett Town Hall or at the Co-op store. You can contact me at: ferguson3638[at]gmail.com