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The Latest News from Wheatsville

A Message from the Board’s Owner Engagement Committee

Be sure to take advantage of the fun events and opportunities throughout the year to meet with board members. We want to hear from owners like YOU!

The board is elected to represent owners and we want to know what is on your mind. Feel free to share your vision for Wheatsville’s future, or your questions or concerns about the state of our Co-op. We love co-op stories and enjoy sharing what we know about Wheatsville and the co-op economy. Sharing and growing together makes shopping at Wheatsville that more satisfying!

Stop by at $5 Dinner, when Board members are in store shopping, or when we are out hosting events. Sign up for Wheatsville’s weekly email, social feeds, or see in-store signs for all the latest news. — MeriJayd O’Connor, Board Member

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HONK!TX 2019

HONK!TX returns to the streets and public spaces in Austin March 29 - 31 for the ninth annual free festival of community street bands! We’ll be presenting wonderful bands from around the country, new international bands from Brazil and El Salvador, and all your favorite Austin brass bands, performing without amplification for your boogying pleasure.Visit honktx.org for details!

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International Women’s Day: Celebrating Women at Work

Since 1910, International Women’s Day has been observed on March 8th to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women and serves as a reminder to continue working towards gender equality. Since the first co-op opened in Rochdale, England in 1844 women have always been able to own a share of the business and cast a vote, long before women would gain the right to vote (1920 in the US, 1928 in the UK). Even today in traditional retail businesses only 37% hold senior level manager jobs, and just 8% are CEO’s.

The grocery industry in particular has had a long reputation of being a male-focused business, but like many things, the co-op leads the way in creating change along with a wealth of opportunity for women. From stocking shelves, ordering product, paying the bills, and managing departments to serving on our Board of Directors, organizing events, cooking in our deli, baking bread, even creating this newsletter – women are essential to our workforce. In addition, our commitment to fair trade foods and goods from vendors such as Matr Boomie, La Riojana, Equal Exchange, and Alaffia, gives women around the world the opportunity to earn their own money, become leaders, and create opportunities for other women in their communities.

All of this work and awareness is important and none of it could be accomplished well without a strong foundation of trust. The co-op supports and empowers all workers by providing a safe workplace free from sexual harassment, a private grievance process free from retaliation, independence through livable wages and benefits, and equal opportunity for advancement.

As an independent and democratically owned co-operative, we are proud of our history and appreciate the work we are doing together building a strong future for women locally and around the world. Thank you for choosing CO-OP!

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Happy 43rd Birthday Wheatsville!

We do so much, and with you, we can do even more!

Our co-op celebrates 43 years of cooperation this March. Being a community-owned independent business isn’t getting any easier, though! There are increasing challenges moving forward and growing the co-op economy in the middle of a rapidly transforming industry and city. As more and more sophisticated large-scale retailers come to town or decide to get into the grocery business, your support means more now THAN EVER.

We know that literally THOUSANDS of you find value in shopping at the co-op every week. Without your continued weekly patronage, your co-op does not exist. Each purchase you make – from sandwiches to fair trade birthday gifts – have impact on our community.

Co-ops offer an alternative way of doing business that supports inclusive values and principles. While it may seem hard to believe that any business nowadays is acting in your best interest – never mind honestly and ethically – we’re here to tell you – WE DO, EVERY DING DANG DAY!

We take a lot into consideration when we make decisions – the planet, our community, our staff, and YOU. Do we get it right for all people all the time? Heck no, but we’re here swinging for the fences every day and our little co-op that started in 1976 is still kicking because of YOU and your friends and neighbors who support us. And it matters to us in significant ways that we continue to satisfy you and that you find value in shopping at your co-op. We strongly encourage you to choose us as often as you can for as much of your food dollar as is possible. Because with your co-op, more money stays in Austin than any big grocer and nearly any other food purveyor for that matter.

We were recently featured in Forbes for raising $181,393 for local non-profits in 2018 – all nickels and dimes rounded up at checkout throughout the year... It’s just one way our amazing community of members and shoppers comes together to create impact. THANK YOU!!!

You may not think your breakfast taco or cup of coffee matters – but it does. Consider each purchase you make here a decision to support an independent ethical local business. We thank you for your support and look forward to another 43 years of growing and thriving here as your community grocer in Austin. Happy Birthday to US!

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Get Involved – Run for the BOARD or serve on a Committee

Are you a Wheatsville member? Do you welcome opportunities to grow as a more inclusive and innovative leader? Are you 100% about that Popcorn Tofu life? Well, Board membership just might be for you.

Serving on Wheatsville’s Board of Directors is a challenging, rewarding, and transformational experience. The opportunity to represent the diverse interests of Wheatsville’s patrons is a great honor, and it’s true, we are quite fond of our Wheatsville grocery store – however, service on the board is also a responsibility that demands mental fortitude and persistence.

Attend a Prospective Candidate Information Session

Information sessions are an hour in duration and answer questions like, “What does the board do?” and “What are the co-operative values that drive Wheatsville’s policies and procedures?” If you think you might want to serve as a director, or just want to engage more deeply with your co-op, sign-up for an info session and join us in learning more about the work of the Wheatsville Board. Meetings take place at Wheatsville’s admin offices at both the Guadalupe and S. Lamar stores or email us at nominations2019@wheatsville.coop.

Candidate Information Sessions:

  • Tuesday 3/26 at Guadalupe, 6pm 
  • Tuesday 4/22 at South Lamar, 6:30pm 
  • Tuesday 5/28 at Guadalupe, 6pm 
  • Tuesday 6/25 at South Lamar, 6:30pm 
  • Tuesday 7/23 at Guadalupe, 6pm 
  • Tuesday 8/27 at South Lamar, 6:30pm 
  • Tuesday 9/24 at Guadalupe, 6pm 
  • Tuesday 10/22 at South Lamar, 6:30pm 
  • Tuesday 11/26 at South Lamar, 6:30pm

Join a Board Committee

This list of volunteer opportunities is not exhaustive, but offers a few ways you can get involved with the Board.

Audit and Review Committee

We encourage owners from all professional backgrounds (a financial background is not required) and having a mix of professional experiences is invaluable to support the board’s oversight role. The board commissions and works with an outside auditing firm and conducts a review of the co-op’s bookkeeping systems, as required by State statute.

Owner Engagement (OEG) Committee

In addition to fostering community through events and connecting owners and shoppers to local food makers & local independent businesses, the Owner Engagement Committee helps organize our BIG CO-OP FAIR in October. This annual event gives context to the year, presents Board candidates to owners, and is an opportunity to have fun and eat good food.

Get involved with The Austin Cooperative Business Association (ACBA)

The ACBA is dedicated to growing and strengthening the Austin-area cooperative community through increased consumer knowledge, inter-cooperative support and advocacy to make it easier to start and expand cooperatives. More info regarding ACBA visit: https://acba.coop/
  
Send us an email at boardemail@wheatsville.coop if considering any of these opportunities and we look forward to connecting with you at the friendliest grocery store in Austin. — Jason Bourgeois, Board Member

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Local Vendor Spotlight: El Milagro

When it comes to making tacos and scooping queso, the tortilla makes all the difference. Founder Raul Lopez learned how to make tortillas in Mexico from his uncle who owned a tortilleria. After coming to the US in the 1940s working for Santa Fe railroad, he soon started his own business in Chicago selling tortillas to restaurants. El Milagro, “the miracle”, quickly became a growing family business.


Production began in Austin after El Lago, the former tortilleria factory on 6th St., decided to sell. The Lopez family loved their visits to Austin and decided it would be a good base for production. While the storefront moved from it’s 6th St. location a few blocks over to 7th St. in 2017 and production moved to San Marcos, Manuel Lopez says the Austin market is still their biggest.


For scooping chunky guacamole and smooth ribbons of queso El Milagro’s thick salted tortilla chips are by far the most popular choice. Just try and get those chips to cave under a pile of nachos – won’t happen. For migas and spicy salsa thin chips reign supreme.


Of course, as any good Texan know, the secret behind a great chip is an outstanding tortilla and El Milagro serves up a great one. Made with just high-quality nonGMO corn, water, and lime – sometimes simple is just better.

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