Board of Directors Meeting - 17 November 2011

PRESENT: John Eichholz, Dan Gillotte, Jane Harter, Deirdrie Lang, Ben Nauman, and
Doug Walter ABSENT: Travis Hance

STAFF: Dan Nordley, Keri Poeppe and Heewon Lee

1) The meeting was called to order at 11:03 a.m. (Central) by Dan Gillotte

2) Dan Gillotee proposed modifying the agenda so that the strategic planning retreat became
the first agenda item, followed by the Operations Report and the Cooperative Grocer
M/S: Jane/Ben: accepted the revised agenda.

3) Minutes for the meeting of 20 October were approved with the following change
(strikethrough): "D. CGIN Membership proposal
A number of strategies could be employed for certifying that an
applicant is indeed a fledgling cooperative and not competitor to the
community. NCBA and MCGA membership may be financially out
of reach for emerging coops. Dan is investigating working with the
Food Coop Initiative. Jane mentioned the (dot)coop registry has a
validation process that may be helpful. Another possibility is
requiring that fledgling cooperatives enlist an existing CGIN member
as a sponsor. CGIN’s membership standards need to be transparent
and aligned with membership policies and bylaws. To the extent that
CGIN takes on the process of validating members, it is likely to
extend the amount of time required for application processing.”
M/S: Doug/Deirdrie: approved the minutes

B. PRESIDENT’S REPORT/Strategic Planning Meeting Need for Facilitation
Dan G. said things are on track for the strategic planning meeting in Austin on Thursday,
January 12 and Friday, January 13, 2012. The Strategic Planning Committee, comprised of
Ben, Doug, Dan G., Dan N. and Bella, met to discuss the logistics and content of the
meeting. The committee determined that a facilitator, while expensive, is needed to help the
board arrive at their desired outcomes for the retreat.

The board packet contains the notes from the Strategic Planning committee. Board
members are encouraged to read and provide feedback, especially regarding meeting
topics/issues/ideas, to the committee members.

Mark Goehring is interested in facilitating, but he has a tight schedule and he works closely
with NCGA. Art Sherwood is the next person to approach, followed by Bill Gessner.
Dan N. estimated that a CDS facilitator will cost $5,000-6,000. Dan N. contacted the
association of nonprofits in Texas for a list of recommended consultants but hasn’t received
a response. Dan G. said he doesn’t have a local resource to recommend. Dan G. voiced a
preference for a seasoned, informed facilitator who is grounded in co-ops. No board
members voiced a dissenting opinion.

Dan N. asked if Habitat Suites with a rate of $119/night is acceptable to the group. Board
members said this seemed like a reasonable option. Dan N. and Bella will continue to work
on logistics. Board members need to make flight arrangements and submit receipts and
itineraries to Dan N. The strategic planning meeting will start at 9AM on January 12, 2012.

Operations report. The board reviewed the operations report briefly and asked specific
• Listserves Outage: Dan reviewed the problems with the listserves as described in the
Operations report. The problem appears to be resolved and Dan N., Paul Navarre, and
Heewon are regularly sending test messages to confirm that email is flowing. Dan N. told
Paul Navarre to stop working on the project, and Dan recommends that the board postpone
any further changes to the listserve tools until after the Strategic Planning meeting. It was
noted that the website is not on the list of discussion items for the Strategic Planning

• Site statistics and usage: Dan N. presented the Google Analytics numbers to the
board. He noted that 25% of traffic goes to the classifieds section of the site, followed by
the pages and resources on how to start a food co-op. Users do not spend a lot of time on
individual pages, but this may be due to the fact that users are downloading files to read at a
later time and then leaving the site. Dan N was asked if the CGIN website statistics are
consistent across time periods. Are there trends in how the website is used/viewed?
Reviewing the CGIN site statistics led to an initial discussion of the Cooperative Grocer
proposal. The conversation was sidelined, while the board reviewed the financial reports
before returning to the Cooperative Grocer.

• Financials: Dan N. reviewed the financial reports presented in the board packet. He
noted the new breakout of usage income in the reports and said there isn’t much income
from members purchasing access to additional listserves. Board members asked for a
breakout of membership by type for future meetings. Dan expects a profit of approximately
$10,000 by the end of the year.

D. Cooperative Grocer proposal
Dan N. noted that visitors spend more time on the Cooperative Grocer’s website (individual
pages and articles) than on the CGIN site. He concluded that the content provided by the
Cooperative Grocer is highly valued by co-ops, perhaps more so than the resources available
on the CGIN site, and that this was a good reason for CGIN to assume the Cooperative
Grocer magazine from NCGA.

The board was interested in the proposal. The board noted value in providing stories about
how co-ops have succeeded to balance content like policies. Overall, content could become
more serious and thoughtful.

Board members asked a number of questions during the ensuing discussion:
• What does NCGA think? Is the offer to transfer Cooperative Grocer to CGIN a time
limited offer? Dan N.: not aware of a timeline for this, but urged opening up
discussions with NCGA soon.
• Is there a price attached to the transfer? Dan N.: No, not to his knowledge.
• What is the financial outlook for the magazine? Why do the numbers trend negative
or break even? Dan N.: Acknowledged that the financials look marginal; much of the
cost is driven by the amount of overhead.
• How does CGIN’s involvement decrease overhead costs for the magazine? Dan N.: it
doesn’t directly.
• Is there synergy between CGIN and Cooperative Grocer? What is the direction of
both entities? Dan N.: Cooperative Grocer has excellent content which could
strengthen CGIN’s website. Perhaps CGIN membership could include a magazine
• Who are the audiences for both entities? How are they aligned? Dan N.: Cooperative
Grocer has a public audience, while CGIN is less so. Both entities present good
• What are NCGA’s current responsibilities and liabilities for the Cooperative Grocer?
Dan N.: NCGA has editorial oversight.
• What are NCGA’s editorial policies?
• If CGIN absorbed Cooperative Grocer, how much additional work would CGIN
board/staff have to do? Dan N.: there could be additional work for the CGIN board.
• Would assuming the Cooperative Grocer complicate the management contract and
partnership between Triangle Park Creative and CGIN?
Doug called the question. No motion was made, but board members agreed to continue to
discuss the proposal more over email before the next meeting. Dan G. will contact Robyn to
confirm that NCGA is open to transferring Cooperative Grocer to CGIN. Dan N. will
forward the NCGA editorial responsibilities and sketch out what additional work the CGIN
board might expect if they took over the magazine.

E. Annual Report
This item was tabled until the next meeting due to time constraints.
The meeting was adjourned at 12:09 PM.