Oryana Natural Foods Market
Oryana Natural Foods Market
260 East Tenth Street | Traverse City, MI 49684 | (231) 947-0191

To place Café orders call (231) 346-2852 
Monday - Saturday 7:30am-9:00pm | Sunday 9:00am-7:00pm
Open Memorial Day 7:30am-6pm

2018 Meeting Minutes

2018 Meeting Minutes


No board meeting in January


Present at the meeting: Chuck Mueller, Rebecca Teahen, Chris Miller, Sean Burns, Kaitlyn Burns, Jim Dagwell, Holly Jo Sparks, Colleen Valko Absent: Blythe Webster

Oryana: General Manager: Steve Nance; Marketing & Communications Manager: Stephanie Mathewson; Human Development Manager: Wendy Walter; Store Manager: John Langham

Guests: Jules Shelby, Nadia Moehle, Kimberly Conaghan, Robert Gamez

Welcome: Rebecca convened the meeting at 5:44pm.

Additions or Changes to Agenda:

There were no additions or changes to the agenda.

Minutes from the last meeting were approved by email.

Board Calendar:  

Steve presented the Executive Committee with a proposed 2018 and 2019 Board Calendar, moving the annual financial report to March for this year and next. In turn that bumped the 2.7 Emergency GM Succession Plan report to February in 2018 and January in 2019. The Board agreed to these changes.

Public input:

Jules has seen new opportunities in her practice to promote the co-op for those who are avoiding gluten. She has had very positive feedback.

GM report: Steve Nance

Oryana for Good: Stephanie Mathewson

  • Oryana’s (January) Holiday Party for staff and Board was a hit at the Cathedral Barns again. Thanks to all who attended. Staff are sending out a survey to determine if the switch to a January party was preferred.
  • Oryana hosted a group of Japanese Exchange students for a tour in January. They remarked at the lack of Seaweed as an ingredient in our Kombucha.
  • For the third year in a row, Pathfinder sent over students to collect donations on the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.
  • Crystal and Stephanie attended their first Grand Traverse Woman’s Luncheon as an exhibitor in February. We are happy to report that our booth was the busiest!
  • Laura Cavender has led a very successful second round of Basics Cooking Classes – these are free cooking classes covering the very basics to get people comfortable with preparing their own food.
  • Outreach has been busy with the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference in January, the first ever Live More Leelanau Health Fair in February and a donation to a BARC-day fundraiser last week.
  • Advertising has focused on promoting our differentiator of unique, local products in packaged grocery and on the benefits of Ownership.
  • Save the Dates! The General Ownership Meeting will be held on Thursday, April 19 and the Community Block Party will be held on Saturday, May 19. See you there!

Fantastic Finance, Steve Nance

  • Net Sales Growth –Oryana was below target for growth through the end of January, but sales have been trending up in the last few weeks.
  • NCG Central Corridor Co-ops are beginning to see a turnaround from negative growth as well.
  • Payroll costs were higher than target in 2017 due to the Sustainable Wage project which raised wages for nearly 80% of staff in April, 2017.
  • The co-op is still in a positive cash position even with the expenses of Oryana Refreshed incurred in 2017.

2017 Draft Results

  • Draft numbers put the revenue of 2017 at about $15.5 million, which was better than budgeted
  • Cost of Goods was directly in line with budget
  • A full end of year Financial report will be presented at the March meeting

Industry Trends:

  • Meijer is exploring an in-store Meal Kit program. Oryana examines meal kits regularly, but has currently decided that the labor costs would be prohibitive for a sellable product.
  • Amazon is expanding their Prime Rewards to Whole Foods Shoppers. They are also forcing suppliers to drop their wholesale pricing by 3-5%.
  • Grocery suppliers are beginning to experiment with tracking fresh product delivery through Blockchain.
  • Chinese powerhouse AliBaba is experimenting with new grocery stores called BingoBox
  • Costco Corporation reported strong comps in January
  • President Trump’s budget suggestions included a cut to SNAP Benefits. SNAP administrators, the USDA and major retailers came out against the recommendation – decisions now sit with Congress.
  • Amazon announced a layoff of hundreds of employees
  • Whole Foods released a fun new ad campaign supporting ‘Whatever makes you Whole’

Local Trends:

A resort Condo Development was announced on the property of the Williamsburg Dinner Theater (the past potential second location for Oryana). This could bring more condo and tourist traffic to the Acme area.

Our Co-op:

Merchandising – the co-op has put a focus on its merchandising and cross-merchandising efforts, trying tactics such as a special Impulse Buy Valentine’s Day Gift Table near cash registers and, yep, even a balloon arch in produce to celebrate their Chard Challenge. Both have positively affected sales.
The Leadership Team will attend a mini-retreat this coming week to discuss the Vision 2028 that Steve presented to the Board last month.
Upcoming large projects for this year:

Boardman Loop Trail – Oryana is discussing the best ways to support the upcoming completion of the North Boardman Lake Trail.
Solar – Oryana is in talks to implement solar at the co-op by the end of the year. More to come!
North Boardman Lake District – Oryana is helping to lead the development of the 8th Street corridor in an intentional way with other local businesses and residents.

Steve has agreed to mentor the Purple Porch Co-op in South Bend, Indiana – an example of practicing P6.
The search for a Financial Manager is on hold while Steve explores the possibility of sharing a CFO with other co-ops in the Midwest.
Wendy will be helping to launch an internal program called Culture of Service that will take Oryana to the next level of Customer Service. Trainings will be forthcoming.

Monitoring Report 2.7 Emergency GM Succession Plan

Wendy Walter

Wendy gave a report on the process if there were a sudden loss of GM services:

  • An interim GM Team would take control which would include IT/Pos Coordinator, Heather, Store Manager, John, Marketing Manager, Stephanie, and HD Manager, Wendy. This team currently operates directly under the GM and so would be able to take on his roles in his absence.
  • Wendy would be the designated contact for the Board.
  • The Support Team would work together to reach decisions through consensus. Operations Departments would remain under the Operations Manager. Wendy would take on leadership of Administrative areas and also lead Leadership Team Meetings.
  • The Support Team remains up to date on the latest happenings of the co-op and meet regularly to go over those details so they are informed.
  • Support Team Members also report to the Board on their Ends areas of influence and pursue training to keep up with the latest trends.
  • The team maintains access to necessary keys and passwords.
  • Dags asked about Eldon Horner’s role in the new succession plan. With Eldon’s move to Grocery Manager, John would take over his role on the Succession Team. Wendy would hold dual roles of GM and HD Director.
  • Rebecca asked about the filling of a financial manager on this team. As the role of Finance Manager gets filled, they will be added to this support team.
  • Chuck asked about any crisis drills to practice these roles. When Steve is out of the co-op on vacation or at trainings, this team does take over the major responsibilities, which is, in essence, practice for such an event.  

Motion to accept:             Action: Holly Jo moved. Sean seconded.

The Board accepted the Monitoring Report 2.7 Emergency GM Succession Plan The Board reached consensus.

Upcoming Events:

Co-op Café will be held on March 3 in Ann Arbor

Chuck will be attending and will be reporting back to the Board.

CCMA will take place May 31 – June 2 in Portland, OR

The staff have already reserved rooms for the event along with 5 registrations. Steve will be going to represent the staff.
Rebecca will be the point of contact for those Board Members who would like to attend.

General Ownership Meeting Committee Report

Kaitlyn Burns & Stephanie Mathewson

  • After checking the date with Board Members, staff and kitchen, this year’s GOM will be held on Thursday, April 19th
  • We will again be hosting the event at the Cafeteria of TC Central High School (as it allows ample parking and adequate kitchen space)
  • For the programming this year, the staff is exploring producing a Video Annual Review for the past year, followed by a look at the year to come from GM Steve Nance
  • The staff is also looking into showing the videoed Board Candidate Statements in place of having the Board members speak at the meeting. Time in the agenda would still be reserved for nominations from the floor.
  • In reviewing notes from last year, we could also explore having questions written down and choosing a limited number that are answered live at the meeting, while the rest would receive personal written responses. Colleen suggested that papers and pens be left on the tables so that attendees could write and submit questions during the meeting as well.
  • Stephanie is also exploring the idea of adding a Facebook Live component to this year’s meeting, allowing anyone with a Facebook account to view Steve’s preview of the year to come. Nadia suggested also exploring Periscope.
  • Stephanie will provide a GOM volunteer sign-up sheet for the Board at the March meeting.

Board Development: Ends Review & Board Self-Evaluation

Rebecca Teahen

There was a discussion about how the Board Self-Evaluation results should be shared and acted upon. The Board Development and Education Committee will take on this task.

There was also a discussion about how to go about the Ends Review process. Rebecca recommended we defer the process discussion to the Engagement Committee to decide. Miller asked about creating an Ad Hoc Committee to specifically address this topic. It was decided that the Engagement Committee take on the topic, but other interested Board Members are welcome to attend.

Holly Jo suggested that the General Ownership Meeting is a great place for Board Members to talk with Owners. There was also light discussion about tabling in the co-op and coffee hours in the café, which both could be enacted in the future.

Next Meeting Review:

Steve mentioned there was a request to ensure ADA compliance for accessibility for the Board meetings. In the past the process has been to move the Board Meeting down to the ground floor if necessary. Now the team is exploring other options to make the Board meetings regularly accessible. This may be an agenda item on the March calendar.

The next board meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 20, 2018 at 5:45 pm at Oryana. (Any future changes of venue will be publicized widely).  

Public Input & Announcements

Chuck announced that on April 22 the movie Stand Up for Great Lakes will be showing at the State Theater, a filming of the non-profit group’s crossing of Lake Huron. It will be a free event.

Kimberly spoke on behalf of the Traverse City Community Gardens and thanked Oryana for their long-time support. The TCCG are promoting their new membership model which allows those who don’t wish to manage a plot to also join and support. She invited any interested persons to contact her or view details online at tccommunitygarden.org.

Nadia asked for clarification on the Candidate videos – asking if they would be available to share prior to the meeting. Stephanie confirmed that they would be available to share online prior to the event and would be added to the electronic ballot.

Meeting Closed: The meeting was adjourned at 7:20pm.


Present at the meeting: Chuck Mueller, Rebecca Teahen, Chris Miller, Kaitlyn Burns, Jim Dagwell, Holly Jo Sparks, Colleen Valko, Blythe Webster. Absent: Sean Burns

Oryana: General Manager: Steve Nance; Marketing & Communications Manager: Stephanie Mathewson; Human Development Manager: Wendy Walter. Guests: Nadia Moehle, Robert Gammons

Welcome: Rebecca convened the meeting at 5:48pm.

Additions or Changes to Agenda: There were no additions or changes to the agenda.

Minutes from the last meeting were approved by email.

Board Calendar:  

The Board reviewed the upcoming Board Calendar. No changes were made.

Public input:

Robert suggested cricket powder cookies for the General Ownership Meeting this year. Steve responded that the Kitchen is not able to execute the cookies on that scale for the meeting in April. To help familiarize shoppers with new products, the staff regularly demo products in-store.

Robert also suggested utilizing recipes from the Oryana cookbook for the General Ownership Meeting. Steve responded that those recipes are sized for home cooking, not large event cooking, so would not transfer to the larger event. 

GM report: Steve Nance

Fantastic Finance, Steve Nance

Financial numbers for January and February were shared with the Board. The store is currently not performing up to target but with Spring around the corner, Oryana is expecting a pick up in sales and traffic.

Industry Trends:

  • According to the latest studies, Men are less willing to use online devices to shop.
  • Retailers are voicing their dislike for the proposed tariffs.
  • Grocery store openings fell 29% in 2017. Although this does not include the openings of small format organic and natural stores, which are up!

Local Trends:

  • The Grand Traverse Teaching Kitchen is moving forward. There are a variety of our partners and partner organizations represented on the Board. NMC’s Fred Laughlin took Steve’s place on the Board. Oryana is still staying closely connected with the project.
  • Oryana is a proud member of NREC’s Beloved Community – an intentional group organized to help share resources and events with each other.

Our Co-op:

  • The co-op hosted the first of three All-Staff Meetings for the year. Along with a Big Picture Report for staff, Oryana hosted Scott Maxson from the Traverse City Police Department who gave a presentation on safety including topics such as shoplifting, open carry laws and personal safety. So the Board is informed, Steve shared that the co-op does not have a no weapons policy (so as not to create an environment in which community members try to challenge that policy). This has not been an issue for the co-op in the past.
  • Avenue ISR will be conducting a shopper and market survey for Oryana in April. The shopper survey will help us compare responses from a similar survey conducted in 2016. We have not conducted a market survey since the Acme location research.
  • All Board Members are invited to the co-ops weekly Open Book Management huddles, held every Thursday at 2:00 pm in the meeting room. Open Book implementation has been a success and is an example of the dynamic nature of retail!
  • Oryana continues to work with the North Boardman Lake District to organize into an entity that speaks with one voice for the planning an advancement of our neighborhood. Opportunities being explored include being named an adjacent area to the DDA.
  • Oryana will be contributing to the fundraising campaign for the completion of the Boardman Lake Loop – stay tuned for that at the General Ownership Meeting!
  • The solar project is also still moving ahead. More to come on that at the General Ownership Meeting as well!

Oryana for Good: Stephanie Mathewson

  • Stephanie showed a clip from 9 and 10 news who did a story on the Food Waste Extravaganza event hosted by Oryana, Food Corps, and Food Rescue at Traverse Heights Elementary.
  • Oryana is sponsoring an Introduction to Permaculture Class on Thursday, March 29. This is in connection with Little Artshram and will kick off their series of 4-week workshops.
  • The Whole Wellness Yoga Series and Ignite Collaboration Series are both going very well, with more and more attendees each session.
  • Oryana will donate 2% of its total store sales and offer customers the chance to Round-Up at the Registers on Tuesday, April 17 to support Food Rescue.
  • Save the Dates! The General Ownership Meeting will be held on Thursday, April 19 and the Community Block Party will be held on Saturday, May 19. See you there!

Monitoring Report 2.4 Financial Condition and Activities – 4th Quarter and Full Year

Steve Nance, with review by Financial Due Diligence Committee

  • With the implementation of Oryana Refreshed and an increase in wages, Oryana’s expenses grew in 2017, but, even with the addition of direct competition, Oryana performed better than budgeted coming in at -8% as opposed to the forecasted -12%.
  • It took the co-op a little time to readjust to the new Sustainable Wage program and to the lower sales rate, but there was still no need for Reductions in Force.
  • While there was a 3.4% Net Profit in 2016, Oryana experienced a much lower Net Profit in 2017 – but it was still a profit! (Not the negative growth that was expected).
  • One-third of the Oryana Refreshed expenses were able to be paid through free flow of cash.
  • Oryana Balance Sheet remains well-balanced: Total assets are improving, Total patron equity is increasing, and Debt is decreasing
  • While the co-op remains strong and viable, the General Manager made a recommendation to not distribute Patronage in 2018. This is in accordance with the CPA.

Motion to accept:             Action: Rebecca moved. Colleen seconded.

The Board accepted the Monitoring Report 2.4 Financial Condition and Activities – 4th Quarter and Full Year

The Board reached consensus. Motion to accept


recommendation:            Action: Jim moved. Miller seconded.

                                                      The Board accepted the recommendation to not distribute Patronage in 2018.

                                                      The Board reached consensus.

Monitoring Report 2.5 Financial Planning and Budgeting

Steve Nance, with review by Financial Due Diligence Committee

Steve provided Oryana’s Big Picture Goals for 2018.

  • Oryana is expecting April to be a big turnaround month. That will be the first full month that will compare Year Over Year numbers with the opening of a direct competitor.
  • Steve has created unique visions for each department for 2018 to help guide a unified vision for the store.
  • Fun ideas that the co-op is implementing include cross-merchandising throughout the full store, incentives for staff and store performance, and calling for ideas from all staff (through Open Book Management and Marketing Matters)
  • Steve’s Oryana Imagined, 2028 envisions Oryana reaching $17 million in sales by 2020.
  • The co-op remains open to growth in many forms.

Motion to accept:         Action: Blythe moved. Miller seconded.

The Board accepted the Monitoring Report 2.5 Financial Planning and Budgeting

The Board reached consensus.

2018 Board Budget:

Steve and the Financial Due Diligence Committee recommended keeping the 2018 Board Budget in line with the 2017 Budget, since spending was under budget in 2017. This continues to include the consulting contracts, CCMA attendance for 4, food and beverages for meetings, and other necessary items.

Rebecca noted that she feels they receive great value for the amount the Board pays for consultation services.

Steve also noted that Oryana is under budget compared to other like-sized co-ops, although the Board commented that they still felt well supported in their roles.

General Ownership Meeting Committee Report

Kaitlyn Burns & Stephanie Mathewson

  • Stephanie passed around a volunteer sign-up sheet for the GOM to Board members.
  • Stephanie will send out a detailed agenda in the next few weeks.
  • Online voting is set to go live on Friday.

Upcoming Events:

There are still 2 opens spots for Board Members to attend the 2018 CCMA conference. It was decided that Jim and Sean would be first in line to take those spots. Miller will be on standby in case there is an opening.

Board Development: Self-Assessment Review - Chuck Mueller

Chuck shared insights from the Boards recent self-assessment. First priorities include:

  • Ends
  • Engagement
  • Financial Understanding
  • Board Education
  • Building better strategic processes

The Education Committee has reviewed the topic suggestions and will focus first on Engagement.

Robert noted that, as he has attended the last few Board meetings, he feels the Board works well together, is open to comments and suggestions from Ownership, meetings are promoted well and overall he is impressed. The Board thanked him for his comments.

Chuck also let the Board know that CBLD 101 is taking place May 5, which he would highly recommend for any new Board Members.

Next Meeting Review:

The next Board meeting will be the General Ownership Meeting on Thursday, April 19 at Central High School. Board Members are encouraged to sit at different tables to help engage with Owners. Also a reminder to Board members to wear your nametags!

Public Input & Announcements

Nadia noted that the Oryana website still lists voting as beginning March 20th. Stephanie noted that she would update that date immediately.

Chuck shared that there will be a showing of the film Stand up for Great Lakes at the State Theater on April 22nd at 3:30 pm. It is a 30-minute documentary detailing the journey of the non-profit group as they paddle boarded across Lake Huron to raise funds for the Great Lakes. Chuck noted that you could visit Oryana’s booth at the RecylceSmart event then come to the movie after.

Kathi and Craig Mulder will be heading to Haiti to help support and expand Grace Community Birthing Center. Donations can be made online.

Steve noted that Owners will receive notification of not receiving patronage in the newsletter being mailed on April 2.

Meeting Closed: The meeting was adjourned at 7:17pm.



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The next meeting is 
Thursday, June 28, 5:45 pm

Location: Oryana

Everyone is welcome.