There were a lot of spirited conversations at this past year’s Annual General Meeting. It was my first AGM and what clearly resonated with me is how deeply members love and are dedicated to Karma. There was a lively discussion around Karma’s financials and a presentation by the Co-op’s new auditor, Thomas Kriens, of Kriens-LaRose. Karma continues to see a decline in sales although the rate of decline is slowing. The Co-op still needs to see sales growth for sustained health. Membership is also down relative to last year, but work is being done to more accurately track memberships and how/where new members are learning about the Co-op. These are both consistent themes in discussing Karma’s movement going forward. With the onset of Amazon purchasing Whole Foods, the challenge becomes how small specialty food retailers remain competitive and draw and retain new and existing members. Some exciting projects are coming down the line this year. A generous donation from an anonymous Karma member has enabled the co-op to hire Chiara Camponeschi, a social media and marketing consultant, to create a tailored social media strategy and digital campaign to help the Co-op more effectively connect with prospective members and generate new member leads. A Community Development Committee website sub-committee has also been formed to explore how the site can be more accessible, relevant, and engaging to prospective, new, and existing members. The board will also be looking forward to additional strategic measures the Co-op can take to ensure its long-term health.
We are optimistic and excited for the year ahead and see a new infusion of energy and enthusiasm as we welcome three new board members, who are joining three continuing board members. The board is excited to welcome Dayna Stein, Donald Altman (returning) for a two-year term, and Aidan Nulman for a one-year term. Kate Rusnak moves into the second year of her second two-year term on the board. Alice Barton was acclaimed for a one-year term after previously finishing a two-year term. Alli Floroff was acclaimed for a second one-year term. (Learn more about these new and returning board members by reading their biographies.) We also said goodbye to Paul Danyluk who served for five years, Brayden Lowery who served for three years, and Erin Lawson and Daniel Dundas, who both served for two years. We thank Paul for his solid leadership as board President over the past year and for providing continuity to the board. We thank Brayden Lowery for keeping the board organized and streamlining virtual organizational systems as the Corporate Secretary. We thank Erin Lawson for her warmth and enthusiasm and for acting as our meeting minute-taker. We thank Daniel Dundas for stepping into the Vice-President and Vice-President of Staff Relations roles this past year and guiding staff contract negotiations and board recruitment. As always, the board members serve Karma members, and we encourage you to connect with us in person at the store or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay tuned to the e-Chronicle, where we will be writing regular messages.
by Alli Floroff (President) on behalf of the Karma Co-op Board of Directors