As we head into an exciting new year, we’d like to look back and express our gratitude to all of you who have made 2018, the first full year in our new store, a success. Community support of the Dill Pickle has proven that cooperative business works in Chicago, and we’re thrilled to be part of the growing co-op movement in our city.
Here are a few highlights from the year past through the lens of the 7 Cooperative Principles through which we put our values into practice:
Principle 1: Voluntary And Open Membership
We welcomed 395 new owners and brought in $35K in new equity this past fiscal year!
Principle 2: Democratic Member Control
Owners elected Sendy Soto, Brian Perea, Celeste Levitz-Jones, and Ally Young to open seats on our Board of Directors this October, and the board elected George Langford to the president role for the coming year. Have ideas, questions, or a desire to get more involved in your co-op? Connect with these folks over free coffee and pastries at the next Coffee with the Board event on Sunday 1/27, 11am in the co-op cafe! Owners are also welcome to attend regular board meetings, held on the third Monday of each month at 6pm in the co-op admin office, downstairs at the store. Visit dillpickle.coop/governance for agendas and minutes, key documents, and contact information.
Principle 3: Member Economic Participation
Owners spent $1.5M at the co-op this past fiscal year, 20% of our total sales, and enjoyed $25K in discounts through our quarterly Owner Bonus program, Owner Deals, and Owner Appreciation Days.
Principle 4: Autonomy And Independence
We’re owned by and accountable to our local community, not to outside investors. Our expansion to our current storefront on Milwaukee Ave was made possible by more than $1M in loans from over 200 Dill Pickle owners. We raised an additional $25K in working capital this past year, with $79,000 in still needed in the year to come. So far, we’ve paid back $14,500 in owner loans with interest.
Principle 5: Education, Training, And Information
1,360 folks participated in 32 events in our co-op cafe this year, including the first two workshops of our new Sustainability Series. We’re re-introducing ownership orientations for 2019, with the next session scheduled for Monday 2/11, 6-7pm @ the co-op cafe, open to all! RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Principle 6: Cooperation Among Cooperatives
We participated in Chicago’s first Cooperative Economy Summit this summer, sponsored the launch of the Co-op Ed Center, and partnered with our pals at the Sugar Beet Food Co-op, Chicago Market, Rogers Park Food Co-op, and Prairie Food Co-op on public events as part of the emerging Chicagoland Food Co-op Coalition. And we’re proud to continue to source products from dozens of producer and worker co-ops, many from within our local food system.
Principle 7: Concern For Community
Together, we’ve leveraged $24K in product and funds to support the work of 50+ local and cooperative organizations this year through partnerships, sponsorships, and our Pickle Nickel program, and continue to participate on the Member Action Council of the Logan Square Neighborhood Association.
We’re excited for what 2019 has in store for our co-op community, and glad to have you as part of it!