Ebytown General Meeting -- October 23, 2001

At The Working Centre, 43 Queen St. E., Kitchener
Potluck at 6 PM, Meeting 7-9 PM

Present: Karin Kliewer, Ray, Chris, Jen Niece, Michael Torreiter, Suzanne Galloway, Dawn Miles, Dave Roewade, Randy van Straaten, Matt Corks
Facilitator: Karin, Minutes: Matt

Welcomes, Introduction

We went around the table and gave our names and our favourite dish which we've cooked in the past week.

Financial Update

Matt facilitated

Co-ops have a legal duty to present a financial report to their membership once a year, at an annual general meeting. Our by-laws also state that to have an AGM, we need to give so many day's written notice to the membership, which didn't happen this time. As well, the financial report we had seemed to be a weekly summary for the calendar year 2000 (which is also our fiscal year), and as such was not immediately and clearly accessible, especially as we weren't able to have anyone familiar with the figures come to explain them to us. This is mostly because we don't have the finances portfolio on the board filled at present.

So anyways, this wasn't our real AGM, which'll have to be held sometime later this year. However, we can report now that Ebytown is more or less in the same financial position as it was last year, namely that we have the usual small operating reserve in our bank balance and are still in the black. If possible, something more concrete, possibly with a year-to-date summary for 2001, will go into the imminent June TelesCo-Op newsletter.

Some members wondered what affect the new yearly membership fees were having on our cash flow, but as they went into effect on January 1st, 2001, these changes are not reflected in the papers we had with us. It was requested that at a later AGM the board present a brief summary of how much cash the member fee change has brought in.

The question of Ebytown's long-term relationship at WCRI came up. Matt summarized a very positive meeting he and Sarah had with the WCRI board of directors last fall, and mentioned the need for on-going effort in this area (such as writing an article for their newsletter and investigating ways to reach incoming students who would be interested in us). In brief, this doesn't seem to be something that'll be a problem anytime in the next few years.

Board Positions Available

Karin facilitated

Over the last year, the board has had four of its seven positions filled, which has resulted in stress, overwork, and tasks not getting done. In addition to the difficulty in handling the day-to-day administration of the co-op, the board has had very little time to devote to longer-term planning and visioning, such as writing a grant proposal for hiring a co-op developer, as discussed at prior general meetings. The positions which are empty are: Finances, Administration, and Member-At-Large. This summer, two board members are leaving (Matt, Storefront Management, and Aysa, Purchasing), and one is gone for the summer (Sarah, Community Relations), leaving only Karin (Member Relations). All of this means that Ebytown is in dire need of new board members. As well, we need new ONFC purchasers, since Aysa was doing a lot of that too, and the warmer weather means we need someone to put effort into ameliorating our on-going moth problems.

After all present discussed Ebytown's most pressing needs for some time, several members volunteered to help out with various roles. Specifically:

It was also suggested that co-co's could periodically phone around a notice of positions which are available. Thanks for all your enthusiasm and co-operative spirit, everyone!

Reduced Hours Trial

Karin facilitated

In light of the fact that, especially in the summer, we tend to only get a few shifts filled, and that our inconsistent hours are among the greatest barriers to attracting new members, Karin suggested picking two days a week, and making a concerted effort to being open for three hours on each. The suggestions are 5 PM to 8 PM on Wednesdays and 11 AM to 2 PM on Saturdays. These were chosen because they're spread out in the week, and to make at least one shift a week accessible to people who work evenings or weekends, and because Saturdays are often a busy day. After-hours shopping and pre-ordering will continue as now. In addition to making our hours more predictable, it is hoped that this would increase the chance of two members working together on a shift, or at least meeting more members who come to shop, and that it would free some member time and resources to go into things like purchasing and administrative work.

The need for co-co's to co-ordinate their lists was mentioned, since this hasn't always happened in a planned and organized fashion.

In general the plan was well received, although it was pointed out that Saturdays are often the hardest days to fill. It does seem to be a popular day to shop, however. We decided we would try this for now and re-evaluate in the fall.

Randy, whose sister made our new sign, suggested hanging a plaque underneath which announce our regular hours. It was agreed that this would increase traffic into the store, but the consensus was to wait until we had demonstrated an ability to guaruntee these hours before committing to it on the sign.

Other Business

The community dinner was an amazing success, and another will definitely be planned for the fall. This is beginning to take on a life of its own outside of Ebytown, as many other local organizations have expressed interest in helping to plan for it. This is wonderful news, and with such a broad base of support these dinners should be able to get larger and become more frequent.

There will be an Ebytown picnic on Tuesday, June 26th, from 6 to 8 PM, at the picnic shelters near the bandshell in Waterloo Park (where the Dandelion Festival was located).