By Patrick Finan (Co-op Board Member):
Last Wednesday, more than 200 people gathered in the Nardin Academy cafeteria and gym to eat together, learn together, and grow together while celebrating Lexington Co-op’s 40th anniversary at its annual meeting. At the packed record-setting event, member-owners shared diverse and lively discussion on coop operations, voted for Board Members, premiered a Co-op documentary film and participated in a portion of the meeting dedicated to gathering feedback on the Co-op’s upcoming expansion.
This April, after a year of study, communications with member-owners, and reflection, the Co-op’s Board of Directors set a goal of doubling retail square footage by 2015 based on identified needs of increased demand. Over the summer, the results of meetings with more than 100 member-owners plus survey interviews with additional member-owners were collated. After reviewing this feedback, plus letters and emails, the board adopted a Draft Shared Vision that is broad enough to allow exploration of multiple options while being specific enough to energize the more than 8,000 member-owners.
The four tenets of the Draft Shared Vision express the Co-op’s future goals as: More accessible. More choices. More impact. More community.
^A teaser for the film. The entire film will be released in the coming weeks, and be available for sale at Lexington Co-op.
Over the next two months, the Co-op will continue soliciting thoughts of member-owners on the Draft Shared Vision, and invite participation by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Although the board will not consider potential expansion sites until the Draft Shared Vision is refined, one decision has been made: Lexington Co-op will not be leaving Elmwood Avenue.
Another highlight of the evening was the premiere of a documentary about the history of the Co-op by Buffalo filmmaker John Paget. Paget has recently worked on several films for Visit Buffalo Niagara, including the acclaimed video “Buffalo, NY: This Place Matters.”
Joann Tomasulo, Marketing Director for Lexington Co-op, worked with Paget on the film and hopes that the documentary “will educate Western New Yorkers on the exciting 40-year history of the Co-op, share stories about its Lexington Avenue roots, and remind the community that this is their store, a store we built together, ground up.”
Tomasulo says, “We’ve reached a new day in the Co-op’s history. 200 people attending the annual meeting shows how passionate owners are about their food and their co-op community. The film was exciting to work on; it really isn’t hard to pay tribute to our owners who have worked so tirelessly, shopped regularly and steered their co-op through so many changes. The difficult part is not being able to interview all 8,000 owners!”
Photo Credit: Lexington Co-op