Ebytown General Meeting
7:20 p.m. - 10:00 p.m.
September 13, 2000 at the Working Centre
Present: Michael Torreiter, Jen Niece, Sarah Anderson
(notetaker), Marty, Suzanne Galloway, Steve Izma, Richard Crispin, Don Weber,
Angie Freeman, Matt Corks, Dave Roewade, Karin Kliewer (facilitator), Aysa
September, Lillian Lial and partner, and a happy bunch of children.
Store Improvements (matt):
The store was robbed once in May and twice in June. Subsequently we have been
keeping only a $20 float in the store, and afterhours cash sales are being put
through the door slot. We are looking for a safe for which a changing combo
would be available to keep the float in. The combo would change every four
weeks and only the co-co's and current storekeepers would know the code.
Matt is planning a work day for this fall in order to improve the bin system
and keep those pesky moths out of the bulk food, as well as to give the store
a general fall cleaning.
New Products (aysa)
We have some wonderful new products in the store including the popular and
yummy soy delicious, karin's beautiful reusable pads and erin dougin's hand
We have ordered products from a new distributor, Terra International, including bulk miso, new snackfoods, hemp products, and reusable toothbrushes. Look for these in the store soon!
Store Promotions (sarah)
Since April we have set up booths at the Dandelion festival, the Tri-Pride
event in Victoria Park and the Fair Trade area at the UW Canada celebrations.
We are looking for volunteers to help with a promotions sweep this fall. We
need help writing a couple articles, designing Ebytown posters as well as
organizing an open house in November of this year.
Invitation to join the Board of Directors (karin)
We would love to see greater diversity of membership representation on the
The portfolio's available are administration, member-at-large, and finances,
as Orest's two years are up.
Membership Committee Report (suzanne)
The membership committee started in the summer, and held three successful
potlucks and an interesting field trip to the London food co-op. However,
membership dwindled. now the remaining couple of membership committee members
are interested in getting together with other interested Ebytown members to
plan other membership events, possibly over email.
Upcoming possibilities for events include:
The Canadian Organic Growers of perth, waterloo, wellington counties' organic
harvest potluck on October 14.
A field trip to Karma Food Co-operative in Toronto.
If anyone is interested in being involved with a very informal membership committee please contact Suzanne.
(Another possible event mentioned by Don Weber is the upcoming annual ONFC meeting in Toronto)
It was decided at the Annual General Meeting in April that store hours at
ebytown would change to 3:00 until 8:00, providing after work storekeepers the
flexibility of not having to arrive for their store shift until 6:00 if
necessary. The point of this change was to increase the amount of store
shifts being filled, however, it is impossible to judge the effectiveness of
this change over the summer months, as the number of store shifts being filled
during these months are generally a lot smaller. The hours will remain at
3:00 until 8:00 for the time being.
Matt's Ebydollars Proposal
(see minutes binder for a copy of this proposal)
To generate discussion, using the London Food Co-op as a potential model for
change, we examined the concepts of weekly user fees.
Comments regarding weekly user fees:
Encourages an increase of engagement in the store, as well as a greater sense
How could we adapt this to WCRI? Would other non-active members be upset that
WCRI students get discount and they do not?
The London Food co-op has a significantly lower mark-up
The weekly fee was used a long long time ago at Ebytown, and it paid for most
of the expenses of the store. The mark-up was then used solely to maintain
Ebytown has a much smaller range of inventory, so requiring people to pay
weekly fee would discourage people from shopping and being members.
Would inactive members leave and take back loans?
The prevailing sense was that members were not in favour of implementing these
changes at this point.
Next, we discussed Matt's Ebydollars Proposal.
Clarifications of this proposal:
We could keep track of Ebydollars by computer. This would require some
changes to the Ebytown store programme.
There would be effort made to juggle the numbers so that people who shop at
Ebytown a lot would continue to be rewarded.
It would be possible to retain 4% discount for all members, and use the
ebydollars only for volunteer shifts.
Comments regarding this proposal:
Store is losing money when couples have joint memberships or households are
able to combine discounts.
Another possibility to consider is to have differing discounts for working
members versus non working members.
Maybe we should have household/family memberships. but how do we define a
household or family, and what do we do when members of one household move to
Storekeepers aren't aware that they should not let non-members buy using their
Members who choose not to pay the annual fee would become non-members, but of
course would be welcome to shop at Ebytown.
The prevailing sense was that members were in favour of implementing the
(see minutes binder for a copy of this proposal)
Clarifications of Dave's proposal:
The hiring of a staff member would be implemented only with the revenue
generated by implementing an annual membership fee (which would also serve to
cultivate motivation for larger amounts of participation with the food co-op)
and with a change in discounts (see Matt's proposal).
The staff member should be an Ebytown food co-op member.
The hiring of a store manager would only be for a trial period.. if after 3
months, it was proved financially impossible, the trial could be terminated.
Comments regarding Dave's proposal:
It was pointed out that in past experience with another co-operative,
difficulties arose from the manager being a member of the co-op.
The annual membership fee could be payed in installments (every four months).
It was suggested that the hours worked be reduced to 25 hours a week in order
to allow the hired person time to work another job as they could not afford to
live off of a volunteer stipend.
A sentiment that seemed to be shared by many present was that we would not be
able to satisfy everyone, and that it was necessary to move forward.
Similarly, we should look at this manager position as a full time position,
not just a summer job.
It was suggested that we look into possible grants to cover the costs of
paying a store manager, but to not necessarily wait for these grants in order
to start a trial period, as our likelihood of being given grants would improve
after a successful trial period.
It was noted again that we should be aware of the possibility that some
members may not remain members due to the annual membership fee. What would
the impacts of this be?
It would be beneficial to start the pilot project in the winter as store
business drops significantly from may to august.
If we are to have increased sales we are going to need to increase inventory:
How do we raise initial money to increase inventory as well as paying for
manager? Most people this month will be receiving a tax break from Mr.
Harris. could we approach members to donate that money as a loan to start up
In general, no one present was philosophically opposed to employing a store
The general feeling from those present was that the proposal needs to be
clarified before we can decide on this proposal. The following things are
More number crunching should happen, looking at profits rather than gross
sales, and factoring in the annual fees and change in discounts.
A job description needs to be developed.
Tuesday, October 24, 2000, 6:00 potluck, 7:00 meeting at the Working Centre.
Before the next meeting:
Suzanne with help from Matt and possibly Orest and Steve Izma will work on the
The board of directors will create a job description.
The board of directors will look into various funding possibilities.
We will all talk this meeting up with Ebytown members so that we get lots of
members out to decide on these exciting proposals!