At this year's Consumer Cooperative Management Association conference in Lexington, Kentucky, CGIN (Cooperative Grocers' Information Network) held its sixth annual meeting. At that time, we were very pleased to report a new service: specialized listserves. In addition to our basic listserve, which has approximately 425 subscribers, we will now set up and host specialized listserves. While our basic listserve remains free and open to anyone, these specialized listserves will be available on a subscription basis at $20 per year. For more details, see www.cgin.coop/listserve.html or contact me.
This new service comes at the request of the "CoCoMamas" group. They wanted to be able to have a listserve devoted solely to issues related to membership and marketing. They also were interested in supporting CGIN and making it easier for those interested to be able to find co-op discussion groups and web activity. We understand that there is also interest in a specialized listserve for co-op board members. We will maintain a listing of any specialized listserves and how to subscribe to them, as well as information on how to subscribe to our basic listserve, on the web page listed above.
For those of you unable to join us in Lexington, other highlights of our annual meeting included:
- election of Kelly Wiseman (Community Food Co-op-Bozeman, Montana) to the board of directors;
- special thanks and recognition to Dan Foley for his six years of service on the CGIN board of directors and his visionary role as one of CGIN's founders;
- pledges from 17 members for new items, deli recipes, or an exhibit for our photo gallery, making each eligible for CGIN's new mousepad;
- special recognition to the 13 co-ops that have contributed to our scholarship fund for small co-ops in 2003, and to the seven co-ops that have sent in at least five items or one photo gallery exhibit thus far this year.
CGIN's newest mousepad depicts the inter-connectedness of all of our co-ops and the support organizations that we work with. It also can provide users with a quick reference to some of the most common acronyms in food co-op circles these days. The lines of the "web" are made up of the acronyms and names of regional and national organizations (e.g., NCGA) and programs (e.g., CoCoFiSt). Contact me if you want to put some of these new mousepads at your co-op's computer workstations.
Finally, we also announced a new function coming to our site that has now been implemented. Users can now search in specific sections of our site for key words. Specific areas that can be searched are the listserve archive and all parts of the members-only directory.
For those of you who don't monitor our site on a regular basis, the following is a sampling of some of the new items added to our website in the past couple of months:
- member and customer survey forms from five co-ops
- notes from the CCMA workshop on the board's role in system development
- Outpost Co-op's employee orientation program
- product policies from a number of co-ops
- more newsletter articles about vegan cooking, miso, quinoa, worm composting, etc.
- employee code of conduct policy
- board governance policies
- a deli costing worksheet
- membership brochure and policies
Our listserve helps co-op managers, staff, directors, and members communicate with one another every day. Recent topics of discussion have included:
- policy questions such as use of membership lists, campaigning outside of stores
- yellow page listings and practices
- member labor issues
- sustainable level for sales growth
- favorite electronic resource sites
- accepting memberships online
- experiences with deli rotisserie chickens
- equipment lease versus buy decisions
For information about subscribing to our listserve, see www.cgin.coop/listserve.html. There you'll also find a link to our listserve archive. Remember, too, that we have a page devoted to job postings. There is no charge for this service and the listings are updated at least once a week. Finally, we maintain an extensive listing of web links to associations, manufacturers, equipment suppliers, consumer information, industry news, member websites, and other areas of interest. See www.cgin.coop/links.html.
CGIN's membership is now made up of 116 retail co-ops and 8 other groups (associate members). If your co-op hasn't yet joined CGIN, you can find details at www.cgin.coop/aboutmemb.html. For those of you who are already members, let me know if you'd like to send in a job posting, items for sharing on the site, deli recipes, an exhibit for our photo gallery, or if you'd like to find out how you can get a new CGIN mousepad.Karen Zimbelman is Western Corridor development director for the National Cooperative Grocers Association ([email protected] or 707/445-4849).