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

Monday - Saturday 7:30am-9:00pm | Sunday 9:00am-9:00pm
Cafe open until 8 p.m.

2016 Meeting Minutes

March 2017

Present at the meeting: Rebecca Teahen, Jim Dagwell, Blythe Webster, Chris Miller, holly jo sparks, Sean Burns, Chuck Mueller, Chelsea Bay Dennis

Absent: Kaitlyn Burns

Oryana: General Manager: Steve Nance; Marketing & Communications Manager: Stephanie Mathewson; Michelle Hester: Finance Manager

Guests: Tom Slater, Bob Brown, Marjorie Wilson, Kathryn Danielson


Rebecca convened the meeting at 5:44pm. Board Members and guests were introduced. Minutes from the last meeting were approved by email.

Board Calendar:

2017 Board Member announcements should be moved to the 3rd Quarter Newsletter deadline.

Public input:

Tom Slater recently videotaped a program on Food and Health that Sandi McArthur, available by request on DVD from the co-op and via public access television.

GM report: Steve Nance

Big Picture Goals revised for 2017:

-12% growth; 36.5% Net Margin; 1.5% Net Income

Oryana for Good: Stephanie Mathewson

Lots of great community involvement over the past & upcoming month:

Oryana provided the food for the Farm & Food Network’s Farm Route to Prosperity Summit, ensuring that 20% of it was sourced locally
Hit the Tart Trail was a great neighborhood success in February    
Over $1,000 was donated to Goodwill Inn in February from a 2%/Round-Up Day
Oryana organized a Food and Medicine talk for Grow Benzie
Oryana’s current response time for direct comments on questions on Facebook is under 18 minutes on average!
In the Future: Oryana will be at the TC Family Expo on Sunday and will be sponsoring two students for a Norte Summer Biking Camp

Steve shared February financial numbers and trends with the Board.

In the last few weeks, Oryana implemented their Sustainable Wage initiative. Modeling and discussions have been underway on this for the past few years. Using a financial model created by NCG and CDS, which incorporates local and national numbers, as well as Co-op provided benefits, Oryana announced an increase in wages to over 75% of wages.

Within 6-months of employment, all Oryana staff will be making $12.66/hr.
Any staff currently making below $14/hr. will receive a 14% increase.
Any staff currently making between $14/hr. - $14.99/hr. will receive a 3% increase.
Any staff currently making between $15/hr. - $15.99/hr. will receive a 2% increase.

There are no plans to institute a wage freeze at this time. Changes will take effect March 26, 2017. This was carefully crafted to take into account what changes could be made while still keeping the co-op viable. The Board expressed their approval of the work and decisions. Currently, Oryana has 125 staff, approximately 70 full-time.

Co-op Business:

A new co-op, Green Top, will be opening in Illinois. Danielle Zimmerman-Tiedeck has been named Prepared Foods Manager, she has been acting as the Interim Food Manager in Elizabeth’s absence. She was chosen from a pool of both external and internal candidates.

Industry Trends:

Meijer has announced grocery delivery services in select areas, in partnership with Shipt.
Wegman’s recently experienced an issue with sales language, comparing their prices directly to competitor Costco. It was determined their language was illegal. A good lesson for us.

Local Trends:

Many Housing Developments have been announced in and around downtown Traverse City in the past month.


Trader Joe’s and Costco were both recently named as top picks for Customer Service.
Lucky’s will be opening March 22nd.

Oryana Refreshed:

All new shelving is in place. Many sections have been reset for better findability.
The team is looking at eliminating the current system of top-stock (storing extra stock on the top shelf).
The Café expansion could be ready for occupancy within 3 weeks. Materials ordered for the new Café fixtures.
A gazebo with a living roof will be placed outside for a gathering place.
An overhaul of all internal wayfinding and storytelling signage is also underway.
The Grand Re-opening is planned for Saturday, April 29th.


Monitoring Report: Michelle Hester
2.4 Financial Condition and Activities

Sales and Growth – Flat

Cost of Goods – better than budgeted

Gross Margin – better than budgeted

Labor – very near budget

G&A Expenses – better than budgeted

Net Income & EBITDA – better than budgeted

Ratios – sound liquidity and debt positions

Motion to accept:     Action: Sean Burns moved. Chris Miller seconded.
                                     The Board accepted the General Manager’s monitoring report on 2.5 Financial Condition and Activities. The                                        Board reached consensus.

Patronage Recommendation – Jim Dagwell, Treasurer

Patronage amount 442,953; by law 80% can be retained earnings to be used as operating capital, 20% can be refunded back to Owners. The recommendation is to return 20% back to Owners for 2016. This year the refunds will be automatically applied to their Owner accounts to use in-store. If an Owner requests a check, they can receive one.

Motion to accept:    Action: Jim Dagwell moved. holly jo sparks seconded.
                                    The Board accepted the Patronage Recommendation.

The Board reached consensus.

 Monitoring Report: Steve Nance

2.5 Financial Planning and Budgeting

Steve presented the Oryana Big Picture Playbook which includes all of the Department Operating Reports and Plans and the 2017 Budget and Targets.

 Board Budget Recommendation – Jim Dagwell, Treasurer

The 2017 Board Budget is recommended to be $34,733, a slight decrease from last year, in line with what actual costs were for 2016.

Rebecca noted that opting to cut the budget further would be detrimental during this critical time. That cost supports training and development that could be key to assisting those helping lead the co-op.

Motion to accept:     Action: holly jo sparks moved. Sean Burns seconded.
                                     The Board accepted the 2.5 Financial Planning and Budgeting, including the 2017 Board Budget

The Board reached consensus.

Committee Report Outs

Recruitment/Nomination Committee – Bylaw Change Proposal

holly jo presented the proposed Bylaw Change which now includes language of what to do in case of a tie. Language has been reviewed by an attorney and Oryana staff. There was also a letter prepared to inform Oryana Owners prior to the election, as per current bylaws.

Changes proposed were to swap the first two paragraphs under the Proposed Transition Plan section for better clarity and correct a typo of term start dates in the graph.

Motion to accept:     Action: Chris Miller moved. Rebecca Teahen seconded.
                                     The Board accepted the Bylaw Change Proposal – with proposed changes.

The Board reached consensus.


Online voting is underway with Oryana staff organizing. Stephanie will send out a test ballot to all Board Members as well as Talking Points about the security and operations of the system. Stephanie then passed out a sign-up sheet for Board Volunteers for the event.    

Next Meeting Review

Next meeting is set for April 27, 2017, the Annual Meeting. Finalized agenda to come.

Public input

Rebecca acknowledged that this is Chelsea’s last Board Meeting – the Board thanked her for her service.

Rebecca also thanked the Oryana team for all of their work to prepare for a competitor coming to town.

Marjorie offered that from a public perspective there was a lot of disappointment with not going through with the East location, but she respected the tough process that the Board went through to make that decision.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:26pm.


February 2017

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

Absent: Chelsea Bay Dennis

Oryana: General Manager: Steve Nance; Marketing & Communications Manager: Stephanie Mathewson; Store Manager: Eldon Horner

Guests: Tom Slater, Bob Brown, Rob Glazier, Sherwood Smith, Colleen Valko


Welcome: Rebecca convened the meeting at 5:48pm. Board Members and guests were introduced. Minutes from the last meeting were approved by email.

Board Calendar:

March – 2.5 and 2.4 will be presented at the March meeting along with competition contingencies. Expect the meeting to run a little longer.

Public input:

There was no public input offered.

GM report: Steve Nance

Sales figures and trends were reported to the board. Sales are following a years’ long trend of slowing growth, flattening out in 2016. Finance instituted a new dash boarding tool called the Daily Snapshot that is sent out to all Operations Managers – it includes Store Sales, SPLH, Market Basket, Customer Count in both MTD and YTD.

The 2016 Year End is currently under CPA review. Numbers will be presented at the March meeting.

National Trends:

With a new administration, industry experts are expecting some grocery prices could rise due to possible tariffs and changes in farm labor.
Doorganics (Grand Rapids) has announced they are coming to TC in 2017.

Local Trends:

8th Street project is moving ahead, but construction won’t begin until 2018 or 2019. Will allow a left turn off of 8th street for the co-op.
Steve attended a city roundtable this week to discuss parking issues throughout the city. The city is looking at possible solutions city-wide.
Age demographic 65-74 is expected to grow in our area while other age groups are expected to decline between now and 2025. While the older demographics tend to gravitate towards the co-op, working age groups will be declining.
Oryana ranks third in the number of cases sold and fourth in the amount of dollars sold for our Field Day Basics, Everyday Value line.
Oryana Café won the Record Eagle’s Top Health Food Restaurant in 2016.
Oryana is again helping to sponsor the ERACCE workshop to help combat systemic racism in Traverse City, will be taking place in March.


Whole Foods – focusing on category management (as are we); are re-focusing on their core demographic rather than pulling in peripheral audiences; they recently announced several store closures due to underperformance
Lucky’s – still slated to open on March 22; have been aggressively hiring 150 open positions

The General Managers from several of Great Lakes Co-op partners visited this week to perform a competitive readiness review. They felt we were well-prepared for competition.

CCMA has been scheduled for June 8-10 in Minneapolis, MN.

Oryana Refreshed Update: New produce case, new bulk spice shelving unit, the expansion is coming along well with windows and structure. Carts will move out to the new East Alcove soon. Grocery has been working hard on a full-store reset with new shelving, which is slated to begin by the end of February. New café design is nearly finished and is slated to offer 40 seats (as opposed to the current 24).

Oryana for Good: Stephanie Mathewson

Lots of great community involvement over the past & upcoming month:

Sponsor of the Small Farm Conference
Pour for More started in the café                 

Women’s Winter Tour ran us out of delicious chili
Donated to the preservation of America’s Farmland
Hosted the brave alternative commuters on Winter Bike to Work/School Day
Hit the Tart Trail is scheduled for February 26, 1-4 pm


Monitoring Report: Eldon Horner

2.7 Emergency GM Succession

Eldon shared Oryana’s 2017 succession plan in the case the GM is unable to fulfill their duties. Wendy Walter, HD Director and Eldon would serve as a team interim-GM, with support from Michelle Hester, Finance Manager, Stephanie Mathewson and Heather Neitzke, IT Manager. This Support Team (S Team) meets weekly to stay in the loop. As Store Manager, Eldon is the head of Operations, so is well informed of day-to-day operations and Wendy could assist with administrative duties. The team feel that this would provide ample coverage and redundancy. Gabrielle Hill would also continue to provide administrative assistance to the Interim Team. The IT Manager would turn over all electronic files, the Customer Service desk has copies of the keys to physical files.

Chuck asked what the Board’s role would be in the succession. Their duty would be to find a replacement General Manager. One of Steve’s goals for 2017 is to provide the Board with a suggested plan for seeking a replacement, including contacts and resources.

Motion to accept:              Action: Sean Burns moved. Jim Dagwell seconded.

The Board accepted the General Manager’s monitoring report on 2.7 Emergency GM Succession

The Board reached consensus.


Board Development and Educational Activity: Sherwood Smith, Avenue ISR and Stephanie Mathewson, Oryana Marketing & Communications Manager

Data was collected in the Fall and reported to staff in October. Over 1,000 responses, resulting in a broad base of answers. The respondents sorted into 3 broad groups: Primary (50% or more of household budget spent at Oryana); Secondary (25%); Peripheral (13%). Demographics tend to skew towards Parents with Kids being in the Peripheral group.

Oryana continues to rate very highly in satisfaction and in tendency to recommend. The lowest met needs reported were Location of Store/convenience and Prices. In comparison to our 2013 survey, there were more positive results in overall satisfaction. What would cause customers to shop more at Oryana? Pricing, location, availability of more local and organic products.

New initiatives that rated highly with the Secondary group (where we would be more likely to gain wallet-share) were introducing the Clean Fifteen and a Mobile App. The majority of respondents feel that Ownership and giving back to the community greatly influenced their shopping behavior positively.

In respect to changes in discounts – even though it was clear that overall prices could be lowered, respondents still reported that Oryana’s discounts were very important to them. When asked about potential mergers with other co-ops, respondents were open to the idea, but stressed that they would like to know more information before making a decision as an Owner.

What this means for Oryana:

Change in demographics, values alignment, focus on Value Proposition, continue focus

on our Co-op differentiator; focus on Primary and Secondary, not on Peripheral

How do we influence shopper behavior to bring them back in more often in a month
More research on Discount programs
Reinforces some of our current decisions (Still continuing our work on Pricing and

Category Management, using eblast to push out sales info, using social media to build



Committee Report Outs

Recruitment/Nomination Committee

Chuck presented the committee’s proposal for a bylaws change to allow for 3-year term limits.

The options for succession term planning are:

Option 2: In 2017, 2 board positions would get a 3-year term, 3 board positions would get a 2-year term, determined by the number of votes for each candidate. In 2018, 3 board candidates would get 3-year terms and one candidate would get a 2-year term, determined by number of votes. All future candidates would receive 3-year terms.

Option 1: In 2017, 3 candidates would hold a 3-year term and 2 candidates would receive a 2-year term. In 2018, 3 candidates would receive a 3-year term and 1 candidate would receive a 2-year term. In 2020, 3 candidates would receive 3-year terms and 1 candidate would receive a 2-year term. All other years, all candidates would receive 3-year terms. Division of term lengths to be determined by number of votes.

The Board reviewed language for the proposed by-law change to address board term lengths. There was a question as to whether this change could take place immediately or would need to be enacted the year following its ratification. The Board asked Steve to review the language and timing with legal counsel.

There was discussion about potential Board tabling in the store leading up to the GOM. The Engagement Committee will review tabling prior to the GOM. Steve delegated Stephanie to support the Committee as needed.


Motion to move forward:               Action: Chuck Meuller moved. Rebecca Teahan seconded.

The Board voted to move forward with legal review and language changes proposed for a Vote on Changing Term Limits of Board Positions from 2 years to 3 years.  

The Board reached consensus.



Online voting is underway with Oryana staff organizing. Any interested members of the Board will be asked to participate in a future staff meeting to fulfill any event planning needs.  


Next Meeting Review

Next meeting is set for March 16, 2017.


Public input

Holly Jo shared an invitation to the Equitable Pioneers gathering at Circle Pines in March.


The meeting was adjourned at 7:46pm.


The Board continued in Closed Session. 

January 2017

Present at the meeting: Rebecca Teahen, Kaitlyn Burns, Jim Dagwell, Blythe Webster, Chelsea Bay Dennis, Chris Miller, Holly Jo Sparks, Sean Burns, Chuck Meuller

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

Guests: Tom Slater, Julie Christian, Paul Highberger, Bob Brown

Welcome: Rebecca convened the meeting at  5:49pm. Board Members and guests were introduced. Minutes from the last meeting were approved by email.

Board Calendar: During the Executive Committee call Steve requested to move 2.4 and 2.5 to March, and move 2.7 back to February.

GMM planning – need to refer to the committee list for Board members involved in planning. Chelsea and Blythe volunteered to help; Holly Jo is willing to help with balloting since she’s not up for re-election.

Public input: Tom read some quotes.

GM report: Steve Nance

Sales for 2016 ended the year flat when we were hoping for 2% growth. The 2% growth goal also anticipated Lucky’s opening in 2016, which did not occur. Ownership sales are approximately 75% of total sales. The total number of customer visits is down, but market basket is up.

Based on conversations with many stakeholders, I feel that the 10th street/Boardman Lake Avenue project is most likely dead. Oryana is in favor of an intentionally developed calming street. We’ll keep the possibility on our radar. One hypothetical that has been presented is a park at the end of 10th Street, which could potentially add 30 parking spots for Oryana.

Elizabeth Hamilton, Oryana Prepared Foods Manager, has decided to not return after maternity leave to the full-time role. She will be back part-time in February to assist in the plans for the café remodel and to assist with the staffing transition. Ads for the position will begin tomorrow.

Two co-ops (Elfco in East Lansing and Dubuque, Iowa) have closed their retail stores. However, we are starting to get some good growth news from NCG (nationally); the east & west have started to come back.

Earlier this week we received the news that Lucky’s will open March 22. We continue with Oryana Refreshed here; the most recent changes are the front end lanes. Painting will start next week and a Produce reset will also take place next week.

Oryana for Good: Stephanie Mathewson

Lots of great community involvement over the past & upcoming month:

-     Pathfinder School – Day of Service                                -     Facebook love/engagement

Gingerbread houses                                                             -     We continue to add cooking classes
Cornbread at the chili cook-off                                      -     Chamber Annual Gala
Small Farm Conference                                                                        -     Womens’ Winter Tour

Monitoring Reports: Wendy Walter

Ends: Model Workplace

Wendy Walter, Human Development Manager, provided an overview of the Oryana culture and how staff are supported, recognized, and provided opportunities for development. The training and development opportunities, including the new Passport program, were also reviewed. The communication methods and expectations were also explained.

2.3 Treatment of Staff & 2.8 Compensation and Benefits

Wendy shared the results of the compliance report from an employee survey done in September 2016 through CDS Consulting. 2016 was the 6th year that we have used CDS services for an employee survey and this is beneficial in that we are able to see the changes over the years. Of the 40% of staff who were randomly selected to participate in the survey, 100% participation was achieved. The standards for scores demonstrating compliance were developed in collaboration with the Cooperative Board Leadership Development program. In all areas measured, Oryana met and exceeded the threshold for compliance. Compensation is an area that will be addressed during the 1st quarter of 2017. Benefits are greatly appreciated.

Motion to accept:             Action: Chuck moved. Sean seconded.

                                                      The Board accepted the General Manager’s monitoring report on Ends: Model

Workplace, 2.3 Treatment of Staff & 2.8 Compensation and Benefits

The Board reached consensus.

Committee Report Outs

Owner Engagement Committee

The committee presented an updated rough draft of a New Owner Packet. This was updated by the internal owner engagement team. Please provide any feedback.

There was a comment that this is a great opportunity to revisit how the Board is engaging with owners.



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The Next Board Meeting

The next meeting is
Thursday, June 22, 5:45 pm

Oryana Community Co-op
260 E. 10th St., Traverse City