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-7:00pm

2015 Meeting Minutes

2016 Meeting Minutes


Present at the meeting:

Amy Tennis, Jim Dagwell, Chuck Mueller, Chris Miller, Holly Jo Sparks, Chelsea Bay Dennis, Kaitlyn Burns, Sean Burns, Chelsea Bay Dennis

Absent: Rebecca Teahen

Oryana: General Manager:  Steve Nance, Admin Assistant: Gabby Hill, Marketing & Communications Manager: Stephanie Mathewson, Finance Manager: Holly Hall

Special Guest: Dave Blackburn, National Cooperative Grocers’ Development Cooperative

Guests: Yuan Shellby, Ed Dunlap, Jake Bailey, Mary Mooney Nachazel, Richard Vegh, Joe Connolly

Welcome:  Amy convened the meeting at 5:34pm.  Guests were introduced.  Minutes from the last meeting were approved by email. 

Board Calendar: No changes to perpetual calendar.  Monitoring Report 2.5 Financial Planning and Budgeting was deferred until the February meeting.

Public Input: 

Jake Bailey: Requested that the Board grant time for him to identify a means for providing a livable wage for staff. 

Board President response: As wage is an operations issue, the GM has systems in place to receive staff feedback.  Last month’s Monitoring Reports covered this topic thoroughly and the GM’s interpretation of 2.3 Staff Treatment, 2.8 Compensation and Benefits, and Model Workplace, were accepted by the Board.

Chelsea Bay Dennis: The fourth Fulfillament is January 28th.  Oryana is sponsoring and Steve is presenting!

Juan Shellby: Invited the Board and members to an open house at the Community Center on Cherry Bend Rd.

Joe Connolly: Starting a new recycling business for electronics.

GM Report – Steve 

December Draft Numbers: $1.42 million in sales, 13.79% growth, year-to-date below budget, 40,251 monthly customer count, member sales percentage 68.5%, total memberships 7,005 (hit target of 7000 members on New Year’s Eve), member sales $975,302.  3,798 Members used their MAD discounts, an increase from September. 

Oryana Constant Improvement Projects/ Strategic Initiatives: Price Aware, Efficient Meetings, Open Book Management, and a rebranding project is underway. 

The GM was elected to TC Chamber Board of Directors.  Oryana purchased $3,011,612 of locally produced goods (within 100 miles of the co-op) in 2015. 

Lucky’s Market plans to open its Traverse City location by fall of 2016, according to their Facebook page.

Oryana for Good, presented by Stephanie Mathewson: Mill Creek Elementary students followed up an outreach event at their school with an Oryana shopping trip and store tour.  The Outreach Coordinator has done several events at area schools and organizations, including a presentation on savvy shopping at the Disability Network.  Oryana hosted Pathfinder students who chose to spend MLK Day collecting donations for Father Fred, Goodwill, and Leelanau Baby Pantry; Oryana will also donate the January pantry box to these organizations.  Oryana participated again in the Downtown TC Chili Cook-off event. Kudos on social media for demo recipes.  Upcoming events: 2/12 Homeless Awareness Day, 2/21 Hit the Tart Trail.

Committee Report Outs 

Recruitment and Nomination Committee

Chuck presented the 2016 Board Candidate packet.  It is available on the Oryana webpage or through Customer Service.  Candidates no longer submit a 350 word bio, but answer 5 questions for inclusion in the March/April newsletter (due by January 29th.)  Chuck also proposed that the Board table to meet prospective candidates.

GMM Committee

The GMM is scheduled for April 21st at TC Central.  Stephanie is working on the 2015 Annual Report.

Treasurer Report-Out: Board Budget

Jim recommends that the Board Budget remain the same as 2015.  A peer comparison shows that Oryana’s budget allocation of .22% for Board development and activities (CCMA, CBl01) is reasonable.   

Miller Proposed Bylaw Change: Article V: Section 1B, requiring that Board Members maintain active memberships for the duration of their terms.  He will propose verbiage for inclusion in GMM materials for the Oryana membership’s vote.

Board Development Activity:  Competition

The GM presented a comprehensive overview of current and future competitors and shared how Oryana Management and staff are employing strategic initiatives to remain competitive.

Next Meeting Review:  February 18, 2016 in the Oryana Meeting Room

February 10 = March-April newsletter deadline

Include: general membership meeting story/agenda and candidate statements for April general membership meeting; if applicable, proposed by-laws changes

GMM committee or selected person: Check to make sure all candidates who’ve submitted statements to the newsletter are members in good standing
Monitoring Report: 2.4 Financial Condition and Activities – 4th Quarter and full year and 2.5 Financial Planning and Budgeting
Board Development and Educational Activity

The meeting was adjourned at 7:33pm.

The Board entered closed session at 7:39pm for an update on expansion plans.



Present at the meeting: Amy Tennis, Kaitlyn Burns, Chuck Mueller, Sean Burns, Chris Miller, Rebecca Teahen

Absent: Chelsea Bay Dennis, Holly Jo Sparks, Jim Dagwell

Oryana: General Manager:  Steve Nance; Admin Assistant: Gabby Hill; Marketing & Communications Manager; Stephanie Mathewson Finance Manager; Holly Hall

Guests: Yuan Shellby, Ed Dunlap, Jake Bailey, Blythe Webster, Tom Slater, Eric Braverman, Mary Mooney Nachazel, Laura Cavender

Welcome:  Amy convened the meeting at 5:34pm.  Guests were introduced.  Minutes from the last meeting were approved by email. 

Board Calendar: No changes to perpetual calendar.  Monitoring Report 2.5 Financial Planning and Budgeting was deferred until the March meeting.

Public Input: 

Jake Bailey: Shared how the cooperative’s staff pulled together during this morning’s power outage.

Tom Slater: Attended and taped NMEAC’s Solar conference and gifted the Board a video copy of the conference.  He shared his history with solar and encouraged the Board to embrace it as an efficiency update for this and any future stores.

Yuan Shellby: Shared her new business card.  Invited everyone to two upcoming events.

GM Report – Steve 

Oryana’s annual sales were over $16 million.  Comparison to peers shows Oryana is doing very well.  Many co-ops in the Central Corridor are experiencing slow or negative growth due to expansions or increased competition.  Overall Central Corridor growth experienced a decline between March of 2015 and September of 2015 but is beginning a positive trend at 2.5% for December.  2,925 Members have used their MAD discounts as of February 24th.  February sales growth is at 14.73%.  Year-to-date growth is at 4%.

Member and staff feedback on the halting of the second store project was largely positive.  Refunds for member loan investors were sent with interest.  Dan Kelly was great to work with through the whole process. 

The Boardman Lake Trail Loop is moving forward! This work would complete a loop around the lake. This would make the trail MUCH more popular which would only help us as the trailhead. We’re part of the input session and will continue to support.

The Boardman Avenue project is again under review and the city is determining feasibility.  Oryana met with Cone Drive to discuss splitting the cost of adding sidewalks between the two businesses to increase walkability to the store.  This could relieve some parking congestion and traffic through the neighborhood.  Oryana participates in the Old Towne Neighborhood meetings in the interest of being a good neighbor. 

Stephanie and Steve also plugged Oryana and gave a pitch for Oryana to be a part of TC’s downtown boundaries. The DTCA puts on great events, promos, and has a great new website – all for a reasonable price to belong. We already have good partnerships downtown, this would just strengthen. Downtown employees could be given a discount at Oryana to drive business. The partnership would also include usage of the Downtown Gift Certificates here.

Oryana’s power was out this morning for several hours. Traverse City Light and Power was great and redirected power to us.  Staff were patient and helpful in getting perishables into the walk-in.  All protocols were followed.

Oryana Constant Improvement Projects and Oryana Strategic Initiatives (OCIPS/OSI): the process is becoming more refined as the GM develops a philosophy for each, allowing the teams to interpret (like policy governance.)  A few of the projects and strategic initiatives in the works:

Effective Communications: Keeping staff informed, engaged and knowledgeable.
Oryana Refreshed: Brand Refresh to standardize voice, colors, fonts, etc.; visual Implementation will focus on fixtures and the ‘feel’ of the store; and efficiency updates like assessing the heat reclamation from refrigeration units and more.
Double Up Food Bucks: a program only being used in MI, currently at Farmers Markets, accessible with a Bridge Card. If you buy MI grown produce your dollar is doubled. This amps up the healthy fresh food.  A couple of Detroit stores have piloted the program and we have been asked to be one of the pilots up north.
Attic: completely reorganized and now storing backstock from strategic purchases
Prepared Foods Improvement Project Phase 3: implemented a green salad program and more programs being developed
Price Aware: setting variable margins to pass on deals to members while remaining viable
Competition Intelligence:  Fresh Thyme continues to open stores in Detroit.  Lucky’s Market slated to open fourth quarter. Costco submitted a zoning request and plans to begin construction during the summer.

Oryana for Good: Stephanie Mathewson

Another Mill Creek class shopped at Oryana after Sandi did an outreach event, teaching about healthy foods.  Sandi & Laura tabled at the Northern Michigan Small Farm Conference.  Oryana hosted a Wings of Wonder hawk release at the TART Trailhead.  The ‘Hit the TART Trail’ Event on Sunday was too warm for the sled dogs to give rides but everyone had fun.  The event featured fat tire bikes from McLain’s, snowshoes, treats, etc.  Oryana donated 2% of sales ($800) to Goodwill for Homeless Awareness Day on Feb 12th.  New collaborations with TBA Credit Union.  And vote for Oryana in the TC Record-Eagle Red Hot Best Competition: “Barista” and “Mom-and Pop Grocery Store” categories.  Oryana donated to the Great Lake’s Children’s Museum, Greenspire, Courtade Elementary, Elk Rapids Schools, Yen Yoga’s Inspired Summit, Women’s Winter Tour, and Child and Family Services of NW Michigan.

Monitoring Report – Holly Hall

Draft numbers.  Jeff Wood, CPA

2.4 Financial Condition & Activities 4th Quarter and Year End

4th Quarter

Sales were slower than budgeted (5.3%) but higher than peers. Gross profit exceeded goal, partly due to increased prepared foods sales.  Gross profit as a percentage of sales was 37.13%.  Labor expense was higher than target for the quarter (year-end bonus, staff discount reallocated.)  Total operating expenses were slightly over budget for the quarter for the first time this year, and was partly due to changing the way depreciation is classified (this may change for internal reporting) and expansion-related costs.  Net income by quarter was down to 2.64%.

Year End

Net income as a percentage of net sales was 4.61%; growth at 5.7%; below target but above peer group; gross margin exceeded goal; labor as a percentage of sales was lower than target; general and administrative expenses as a percentage of net sales continues to fall under budget and this quarter is below 2014 (more capital improvement projects are being classified as assets; net income was 4.6% which was well above peers and budget.  Holly presented the budget vs actual schedule, balance sheet, a breakdown of capital projects, the statement of cash flows, statement of patrons’ equity, financial ratios compared to NCG benchmarks and prior years. Of note, Member Loans were not returned until 2016 and are reflected in the 2015 financials.


The GM recommends to the Board that Oryana distribute patronage to its member-owners for the fourth consecutive year, pending the Board’s review and approval of the final year-end financial.

Proposed Bylaw Change Article V Section 1

After review by Oryana’s CDS Consultant and attorney, Miller suggests that the following verbiage be added to the Board Policies instead:

4.7 Board Members’ Code of Conduct

3.  All Board members must be voting members in good standing (meeting the criteria of Article III, Section IV) for at least a period of 30 days prior to the date of election and throughout the member’s term, unless otherwise provided by Board policy.  A Board member will not be considered in good standing if the member is more than 30 days past due on any membership payment or fee required by the Board of Directors, unless otherwise provided by Board policy.  If the Board determines that a Board member does not meet the Qualifications in Article IV the Board member will be deemed to have resigned the member’s Board position.

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

The Board accepted the change to 4.7 of the Policies.

                                    The Board reached consensus.

Board Development Activity:  Competition: Costco vs Sam’s Club

The GM presented a comparison of Costco and Sam’s Club.

Next Meeting Review:  March 17, 2016 in the Oryana Meeting Room

Monitoring Reports: 2.5 Financial Planning and Budgeting, 2.7. Emergency GM Succession and Ends Policies on Economy and Localism
Board Development and Educational Activity: Price Aware

Public Input & Discussion:

Eric Braverman: Asked if Oryana comparison shops and provided examples of his findings.

Tom Slater: Shared the 1994 Traverse City Development Plan (2000 revision) and Oryana’s original development plan.  He proposed making Oryana’s 10th Street location a remote location and build a larger central development off of Four Mile Rd.

The meeting was adjourned at 7:56pm.


Amy Tennis, Rebecca Teahen, Jim Dagwell, Chuck Mueller, Chris Miller, Chelsea Bay Dennis

Absent: Holly Jo Sparks, Kaitlyn Burns, Sean Burns

Oryana: Steve Nance, General Manager; Eldon Horner, Store Manager; Wendy Walter, Human Development Manager; Stephanie Mathewson, Marketing & Communications Manager; Gabby Hill, Admin Assistant

Guests: Blythe Webster, Yuan Shellby, Mary Mooney Nachazel

Welcome:  Amy convened the meeting at 5:34pm.  Guests were introduced.  Minutes from the last meeting, Monitoring Report 2.4 Financial Condition & Activities- 4th Qtr. and Full Year, and Patronage were approved by email. 

Board Calendar: No changes to calendar.

Public Input: 

Yuan Shellby: April 15th is the Open House for The Art of Wellness from 5pm-8pm.

Chelsea Bay Dennis: The podcast of Steve’s Fulfillament speech is now available on the Conscious Entrepreneur’s Facebook page.  The next one is scheduled for May 4th.

GM Report – Steve 

February net sales were up 14% from last year (2016 was a MAD month and 2015 was not) at over $1.3 million.  Sales growth year to date through February was 4.5%.  Customer count increased compared to last year and so did market basket, even though Prepared Foods contributes to smaller sales per checkout.  Memberships increased to 7, 016 and member sales were above January but a smaller percentage of net sales due to the difference in MAD months from 2015 to 2016. 

The Boardman Lake Projects are combining (Eighth Street Corridor, West Boardman Lake District, and Boardman Lake Trail) under Jean Derenzy and Oryana is part of the conversation.  Oryana and Cone Drive are partnering to fund a sidewalk from Cone Drive to 10th St.

Competition: Whole Foods’ 365 small store format launching in May on the west coast. Meijer is expanding into the Twin Cities. They are bringing in more organics and getting more aggressive with their organic pricing.  Costco: lease in process and they are aggressively planning to rezone and break ground in early summer.

Steve is a judge again this year for the TC Chamber Small Business Competition. 

Oryana will be closed for Easter.

Board voting started Tuesday.  There is a rigorous communication plan to keep membership aware of and engaged in the election.

Oryana for Good: Stephanie Mathewson 

Oryana hosted an Italian Cooking Class in which many staff participated.  Oryana sponsored a showing of ‘In Defense of Food’ with the Food & Farming Network at the Dennos Museum.  Sandi spoke on a panel afterward and the EMOE team provided snacks.  Other sponsorships/donations: TC Chamber Small Business of the Year 2016, Eastern Elementary, the TC Family Expo, Moth, Crosshatch Center for Art & Ecology, and the TC Chamber Small Business Celebration.

Monitoring Reports

2.5 Financial Planning and Budgeting

The GM provided a 2015 business plan called the Oryana Big Picture Playbook.  Included are departmental plans, long-term goals, a yearly budget, sales growth models, financial modeling, performance goals, assumptions, marketing strategies, the cooperative landscape, peer comparisons and more.  Because of the changes with the expansion plans and announced competition, the business plan needed revamping.  New to the planning process are philosophies created by the GM for Department Managers to interpret.  The GM presented an example of Price Aware, one of the Strategic Initiatives.  Department Managers meet weekly for to review business planning, marketing strategies, and Oryana Refreshed.   

2.7 Emergency GM Succession – Eldon Horner

The GM has a ‘Support Team’ that includes Eldon Horner, Wendy Walter, Holly Hall, Stephanie Mathewson, and Heather Neitzke.  The Support Team meets with the GM bi-weekly to review organizational strategies.  Should Oryana experience the sudden loss of GM services, Store Operations would be run by Eldon, administrative duties and departments would be managed by Wendy, and organizational decisions would be discussed with the Support Team.  Leadership Team and Support Team Meetings would continue and one or both members of the Interim Team would attend Board Meetings and fulfill obligations to the Board.  Gabby would support communications. 

Eldon shared his history with cooperatives in Indiana as a Board Member then Grocery Manager.  He started at Oryana as the Assistant Grocery Manager, was promoted to Grocery Manager, and then transitioned to his current Store Manager position four years ago.  He continues his professional development by completing NCG Trainings (Retail Basics), attending NCG Conferences and Rising Stars, and completing ServSafe Food Production Manager Certification and OSHA Training (Safety Committee.)  The GM is the Designated Representative (DR) for NCG and Eldon is the Promotions Liaison.  He is responsible for building an SOP repository for the whole store.  He and Wendy are leads on the Succession Planning and Organizational Development (SPOD) strategic initiative to build an infrastructure that supports organizational growth.

Policy Language 2.7 Review: No changes to the language. 

Chris Miller reviewed the policy language.  The Board discussed why the GM is responsible for his emergency succession.  The GM oversees all staff and creates the Leadership Team and the Board’s role is approving the compliance report on 2.7.  The Board will revisit the process for GM succession planning as one of its primary responsibilities.  The first step is to reach out to CDS and communicate with the Interim Team.  The Interim GMs would fulfill obligations of the GM but they are still employees of the coop, not of the Board. 

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

                                    The Board accepted the General Manager’s monitoring report on

2.5 Financial Planning and Budgeting, 2.7 Emergency GM Succession.

                                    The Board reached consensus.

Ends- Economy & Localism

The GM shared the many ways that Oryana contributes to the economy and bolsters local efforts by supporting local producers, co-op collaborations and organizations.

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

                                    The Board accepted the General Manager’s monitoring report on

Ends- Economy & Localism.

                                    The Board reached consensus.

Next Meeting Review: Date, time and agenda 

General Membership Meeting
April 21, 2016 from 5:30 – 8:00pm
at TC Central High School, 1150 Milliken Drive

Required elements –

finance report
membership report (current membership and previous year’s membership totals)
reading/action on previous year’s minutes

election of officers (introduce current Board Members and state their terms (Legal Requirement; include call for nominations from the floor)

Traditional elements – Make sure to bring a copy of bylaws and election policy

General Manager’s state of the co-op speech
Staff introductions

Public Input & Discussion: N/A

The meeting was adjourned at 7:15pm.

The Board entered closed session to discuss expansion plans at 7:22pm.




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The next meeting is
Thursday, May 19, 5:30 pm
at Oryana