We can do better than this.
This Cooperative Corporation has over 25,000 members.
Only 837 of them voted in this recent election. Of those who voted, NONE of them knew the seriousness of our predicament because the accounting allowed by the General Manager was so abysmal a real number only appeared last month.
Why not just let them muddle on through?
This is a question recently posed by a contributor. I, also, lived in that mindset, and felt the exact same way two months ago. However, across that period of time I have stumbled across the coop newsletter from March. In it, the current General Manager, Melanie Bettenhausen, was expounding the exact same excuses (“trimmigrants down”), and promoting the same weak plan forward, (that was, “hope” and “borrow more”).
In the interval since that newsletter, [where she bravely announced the dropping of her three year remodel project of a building we don’t own!] nine months has passed – and the business continued to lose an average of roughly two thousand dollars a day. Year-on-year we are down $733,000. I am not saying that Melanie and Colin are not bright people. But it’s plain that they are grossly inexperienced and have shot our wad. It’s not reasonable to keep them at the helm. It’s like the advertising person who wrote the great travel brochure for the cruise ship was voted in to be captain. Who cares why or how that happened! A $110,000 salary can buy a genuine manager. We need one immediately.
Why immediately? When your bank account runs dry and the bills continue, it’s called bankruptcy.
To let these two borrow more money to stay open and “hope” things improve is folly.
Furthermore it is inarguable that the genuine people who work in the financial end of the local competetive grocery businesses certainly know the definition of “cost of goods sold”. And this is the part that convinced me we cannot wait:During pointed conversations in the November board of directors meeting it was obvious that Melanie Bettenhausen did not know the definition of cost of goods sold. This was brought out in questions by Diane Sharples, a member and local professional accountant/tax specialist. Then the following week, during the financial board meeting, it came out, further, that Colin Fiske, also, did not know the basic formulaof cost of goods sold.
Anyone who has ever filled out, or seen, an IRS Schedule D knows what COGS is. It appears that neither of these people have operated a business before. This is our 30 million dollar a year company folks. 200 employees. Families. Jeez…
Recordings of these events are possible to listen to on the archive tape. This is no attempt to belittle these two folks. They are highly intelligent and talented people, but they just don’t know what they are doing – and only now, $733,000 down, – they are learning what the words mean. BUT WAIT!… This person gets paid 500 bucks a day! . It’s a disgrace and an insult to the membership, -we- , the owners.
Fiske and Bettenhousen have deliberately kept the horrible facts hidden and now they want to borrow more money and sell more shares to stay open. It may be necessary, but they will honestly have to step aside.
The members should now plainly understand: if you don’t vote – don’t cry over what you lose.