This year, the Wheatsville Board seated our 2018 Directors at the January 16th meeting, and held our annual retreat on the second weekend in February. It was a great opportunity to develop as a team and do some foundational work as we embark on our journey together this year. It is exciting to lead the co-op as we turn 42 (which I am told is the secret of the universe) on March 16th, and as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of Dan Gillotte, our Chief Executive Grocer, who was first hired on February 18, 1998. We are deeply grateful to THAT Board of Directors for a wise decision that has paid dividends to our organization many times over!
We welcome four new directors along with two re-elected incumbents to the 2018 Board.
Jason Bourgeois describes himself as a student services practitioner, a performance conditioning specialist, an uncle, and a learning enthusiast. He loves that co-ops support unity, are inclusive, inspire creativity, and are some of the best hubs for community engagement.
Brandon Hines is a dimensional fund advisors manager specialized in information risk and security. He has been shopping at Wheatsville for 25 years because it is about so much more than getting groceries! Brandon believes that through support of our neighbors, Wheatsville will play a significant role in shaping Austin’s growing reputation as a creative center for community, culture, and cuisine.
Don Jackson is a dyed-in-the-wool cooperator who currently serves on the Austin Cooperative Business Association Board, and formerly served on the board of the Black Star Co-op. He is a Project Coordinator at the City of Austin focused on supporting small, local business districts, and he is inspired by Wheatsville’s efforts at local sourcing, commitment to affordable groceries and to livable wages.
Brian Mikulencak is an attorney whose law practice is focused on serving organizations that effect positive social change by using alternative business forms. He values the role that Wheatsville has played in the community throughout the course of Austin’s growth, and is passionate about supporting the food-choice owner-democracy of our co-op.
Lyz Nagan is the communications director for a Minneapolis-based firm, and she grew up shopping at local food co-ops. She knows from those experiences that co-ops build community. She believes in the value of small, personal actions, and she strives to be part of building a strong neighborhood by supporting local businesses and workers, and by doing one thing each day to make the city a better place.
MeriJayd O’Connor is a cranio-sacral therapist who sees Wheatsville as a fearless innovator, supporting sustainable food production, reducing waste, and creating strong cooperative alliances with other industries as we grow into the future. She dedicates herself to improving the health and well-being of others and is part of a developing organization that provides therapy to victims of torture and trauma.
At the January board meeting, three new officers were elected for 2018: Lisa Mitchell is Treasurer, Lyz Nagan is Secretary, and Rose Marie Klee is President. We are looking forward to supporting the work of this board!
We stand on the legacy of so many great directors and boards who came before us, and so I would like to say a special word of thanks to our outgoing directors: Julie Le, who was our star, leading more than her share of committees in her two years on the board; Andi Shively, who served as Treasurer and continues to provide leadership as President of the Austin Cooperative Business Association; and Kitten Holloway, who served as Secretary along with so many years of service on the Nominations Committee.
—Rose Marie Klee, Board President
The election results are in! Wheatsville has two new Directors and two returning incumbent Directors. We’ve also chosen ten non-profit organizations to benefit from our Community Action program. Thanks to all of our Owners who voted and congratulations to all four of our election winners: Jason Bourgeois, Lyz Nagan, MeriJayd O'Connor, and Don Jackson.
As with any properly functioning democracy, elections are a required and critical part of the process. Most co-ops today are guided by the Seven Cooperative Principles laid out by International Co-operatives Alliance, the basic statement of which were set out by the Rochdale Pioneers in the mid-1800s. The second cooperative principle, and arguably the defining characteristic of a cooperative, is Democratic Member Control requiring cooperatives to be “democratic organizations controlled by their members—those who buy the goods or use the services of the cooperative—who actively participate in setting policies and making decisions.” For Wheatsville, this means that we depend on those Owners who are willing to give the time and energy required in order to participate in this important way.
Less than a thousand owners voted this year. There are now over 21,000 Wheatsville owners and we know we can do better! Remember, as an owner, you have a voice and every year we need to hear from you when it’s time to choose the owners you want to lead Wheatsville!
|elected for 3 year term|
|elected for 3 year term|
|elected for 3 year term|
|elected for 3 year term|
|Brian Mikulencak||404||not elected|
|Brandon Hines||323||not elected|
|Save Our Springs||401|
|Colorado River Alliance||212|
|Austin Cooperative Business Association||195|
*Honey Bee Protection Agency received 577 votes, but did not meet the requirements for Community Action Groups. Caritas, the next group with the most votes will therefore be included in the 2018 Community Action Calendar schedule.
Votes received by:
in-store 563 (Guadalupe 169, S. Lamar 394)
Total Valid Ballots 813
invalid ballots 9
Total Time: 30-40 minutes
Servings: 12 (12 latkes)
This tasty latke variation can be enjoyed with applesauce, chipotle sour cream, horseradish sauce, smoked fish and more!
2 cups shredded sweet potatoes
1 cup shredded parsnips
3 scallions, sliced
2 eggs, beaten
1⁄3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup light sour cream
1 cup apple, peeled and minced
Peel the sweet potato and parsnip and shred using a grater or food processor. Wrap the shredded sweet potato and parsnip in a few paper towels and squeeze to remove excess liquid.
In a large bowl, mix the sweet potato and parsnip with the scallions, eggs, flour, salt and pepper.
Heat a large iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add enough vegetable oil to cover the bottom and come up the sides at least a quarter of an inch. When the oil is hot, scoop about 1/4 cup of latke mixture into the pan and slightly flatten. Repeat until the pan is full but not crowded. Brown the latkes on each side 3-4 minutes.
Set aside on a plate lined with paper towels when done. While the latkes are cooking, stir together the sour cream and minced apple.
Serve the apple sour cream on top of the warm latkes.
With almost 22,000 owners and 230+ staff members our co-op has a long history of being an ethical, progressive, and positive business leader in Austin. Since 1976 Wheatsville has worked diligently to live up to our shared values of caring for others, being an inclusive and welcoming community, and working to create a better and more positive world. That being said, we want to take a moment to look back at our year and reflect on what we’re thankful for.
We are thankful to have a leadership team that is 50% female, 39% LatinX, and a Board of Directors that is almost 80% female. We are Millenials, Boomers, Gen X’ers and Gen Y’s. We are parents and singles, gay and straight, vegans and omnivores, voters, activists, and community leaders.
We are thankful for the opportunity we had to participate in the Austin PRIDE Parade this year. Through a staff idea and a groundswell of support, we all grew closer and more resolute about the importance of LGBQT acceptance and equality. All along the parade route, as the crowds cheered us on, we underscored our co-op’s commitment as a safe and welcoming space.
We are thankful for the work we’ve all done together to create a welcoming, safe place for people of all backgrounds and for the launch of our Diversity & Inclusion Committee. In the year ahead, we look forward to open, honest, and thoughtful collaboration to create more racial diversity at our co-op.
We ate thankful for the constellation of people we see shopping at the co-op from day to day – our neighbors, community leaders, and friends. We are thankful for your participation in our co-op. When you shop co-op you help make a positive difference in our world.
When we say “EVERYONE WELCOME” we mean everyone. When we say our goal is to have “More Happy People” we mean YOU. And when we say “We’re so glad you’re here.” we mean it. Our co-op is not one person, it’s a reflection of our community. THANK YOU for being a part of our wonderful co-op family. We look forward to a happy and bright 2018 - together!
Rory at Guadalupe
Who are you and how long have you worked at Wheatsville?
Rory Alexander, and I have worked at the Guadalupe store for 5 1/2 years
I really enjoy the more personal aspect of WV. The previous company I worked for started small and grew to thousands which very much changed the company and culture. It is easy to connect to all staff which makes it more fun to work here!
The Guadalupe location has transformed through our recent refresh! New cases, new menus, new floors, new energy efficient LED lighting and yes we really do still sell cheese and coffee (in new locations)! Please let us show you their new home!
What’s your favorite deli or Bakehouse item?
I eat a cashew butter cookie every day!
The staff is what makes my job the most rewarding. Our crew works so hard and makes it fun with such amazing sense of humors and the generosity to be there for each other when life gets tough. I also very much enjoy helping staff learn and develop so they can grow their roles at Wheatsville.
It is easy to work hard when you enjoy what you do and believe in your efforts. Our staff show up every day to make our Co-op a better place to work, a preferred place to shop all while making our community a better place to live. Most of us are also owners of the Co-op too which means taking workplace “ownership” to a whole new level!
Sal at South Lamar
Who are you and how long have you worked at Wheatsville?
My name is Sal Mendivil and I am the Store Manager for WV Sola (South Lamar store) and I have been with WV 3 years.
I really love that here at Wheatsville, leadership truly listens to what our employees are saying, and actually acts on making things better. While working here, hearing employees talk about not making enough money to live in Austin, WV Leadership took this concern and addressed it head on. Not only did WV Leadership address the issue BUT it made sure that ALL employees had an opportunity to be involved in finding a solution, together! The result was our Livable Wage & Benefits project that made such a tremendous positive affect on so many staff at the co-op.
Why should someone who hasn’t shopped your store in a while come on by?
Two reasons, our products and our people. We carry some of the best natural and organic products you will ever find in this town at a very reasonable and affordable price– and they taste AMAZING! Our people truly deliver exceptional customer service. When our employees speak about our products, about their particular favorite item, it’s because they truly mean it and have a passion for food and to serve the Austin community. I love to hear customers say “this person went above and beyond in helping me today.” The thing is we will always go above and beyond with our customer service because that’s what we do, all day, everyday!
Wow, tough question, so many cool and delicious items!! OK, our Bakehouse Rustic Olive Loaf. It’s so good! I usually spread some triple cream brie on it. I’ve finished an entire loaf in one sitting! Deli, I love our Buffalo Popcorn Tofu. I’ll make sandwiches out of it, put it on salads, or just eat it out of the container...so yummy!
I love the passion for food and service that my crew at S. Lamar have. I love the tenacity and drive my crew has to grow our coop economy and I really love the compassion, kindness, and love that my crew has for one another and for our customers.
Because we love what we do and we love the people we work with. WV is unique in that it’s not just another grocery store, it’s a place where friends meet and enjoy each other’s company over some awesome food from our Deli. It’s a place where families come to support local farmers and vendors. In doing so, it makes their families stronger and healthier and in turn makes the local Austin economy stronger and healthier as well. It’s a place where people come to learn about cool new products, taste new items, and grow their knowledge about healthy, natural, organic foods that are affordable! Working for WV we truly are making a positive difference in people lives. I feel extremely lucky to be able to make such a positive impact and doing it with people that share the same values and beliefs for making our communities stronger.
At my house, our favorite go-to easy dinner on a busy night is always boxed macaroni & cheese. Wheatsville has something for EVERYONE!
...I think my water is boiling, time for a mac & cheese dinner. Time to heat up the veggies and get that macaroni cheesy!
The Wage Task Force was formed by open enrollment of any staff who was interested in joining, and is comprised of a broad cross-section from many departments and tenures. We have decided to present an open letter of progress to the Staff of Wheatsville and the greater public. While we have offered our meeting notes to the staff, we understand it can be difficult to interpret these. We hope to offer a clear vision of what we have accomplished so far, and what we hope to accomplish in the near future.
During the first meeting, we all came with varied opinions about the state of wages at Wheatsville. It was about the freedom for everyone to air their concerns and state their expectations and goals. We had approximately 27 people attend.
At the second meeting, we began by reporting feedback from our co-workers. This is a tradition we have upheld since, with the understanding that we are ambassadors for the entire staff. During this meeting, we talked specifically about ways to raise wages. Opening a second store is a hard thing for a co-op to do and it takes time to recover. For more info, you can look at last year's annual report at http://wheatsville.coop/images/uploads/pdfs/13-14Annual_Report.pdf. Since we don't have a large pool of money to draw from, we need to be creative in our efforts. However, it is the priority of Wheatsville to deal with the wage issues before pursuing a third store. We have explored many avenues and have taken time to consider which, if any, benefits we might adjust. We had approximately 24 people attend.
By the third meeting, there were a few ideas that seemed liked realistic options to the majority.
The future goals of the Wage Task Force are to
We feel that we have made great progress towards wage satisfaction for Wheatsville employees. We encourage the staff of Wheatsville to keep coming to us with their ideas and concerns, and we will keep striving to work out problems and come up with solutions. Your help and feedback is greatly appreciated and needed.
It is a difficult task that we have set out to accomplish, but all of us together are working to achieve a compensation rate that is not only satisfactory, but will make Wheatsville a wage leader in our community.
The Wheatsville Wage Task Force