Page 3 - Summer 2020
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General Manager’s Report
By Steve Nance
The Surreal Last Three Months
Iam sure that for most of us, the time since the beginning of March may seem surreal. Time has been compressed by the weight of events, the speed of change, and the tailspin to our sense of control.
As I look back at the  rst quarter 2020 Oryana newsle er where I recapped the co-op’s signi cant events and  nancial performance of the year, it seems like such a simpler time! 2019 was a year of growth and reinvestment for Oryana as we added two new walk-in freezers and refrigerators to support that growth. By the end of last year, we were looking at our long-term planning – what we call Oryana Imagined, 2030 - and the portion that talked about what growth looks like in the next 10 years. This included thoughts on opportunities such as a second store, smaller locations in or outside TC, or possibly kiosks or collobrations.
We explored a few opportunities in 2019, but at the end of the year, rumblings of possible corporate trouble started to surface about Lucky’s Market. They subsequently announced closings and  led for bankruptcy. I started work on this Big Audacious Co-op Opportunity in December. In the next few months we put in a 110% e ort to be approved to bid in bankruptcy auction and, in the midst of the covid pandemic, prevailed in acquiring the Traverse City Lucky’s location. Whew!
Oryana West – A Once in a Co-op Opportunity
Oryana is now two stores! Why is this great? Ironically we  nd ourselves in a location that we had already considered in 2015. We did not dive in at that time as we determined the conversion of the old movie theater would be over
$5 million at a time when we knew competitors were circling. Fast forward to now—and we answered the strategic question of what Oryana growth looks like by aquiring a 26,000 sq   store with an awesome team and a new customer demographic to serve and empower. This made sense because Oryana is now able to double the co-op impact in our region, get a location we had already ve ed, and conserve our assets. (Our  nal bid of $860,000 was for equipment, sta , lease, and over $600,00 in inventory). Also, and importantly, as the pandemic hit the region, Oryana was able to keep a grocery store running and provide more than 60 good co-op model workplace jobs! If you have not checked out the store, head west!
Covid-19 & Being Essential - As we were negotiating for Lucky’s Market, (quietly, as we were under two con dentiality agreements) the coronavirus sent millions home to shelter in place, but not before folks stripped grocery store shelves bare, including ours. The Oryana team rose to the occasion serving our owners and community. We held quick stand- up meetings so we could keep the team informed as information changed hourly. We were told that grocers were now essential workers, so we had to learn to protect both shoppers and the team from an invisible virus.
Economy - Now that we have all se led into a new normal, Oryana is seeing steady sales growth. Sales are up over 5% from last year. But no one has a crystal ball on where the economy may be headed or if a Covid second wave could create an even more catastrophic economic downturn. So as we review our business plans we remain conservative and prepared for the worst, while hoping for the best.
Renewed Calls for Racial Justice - The history of food co-ops is steeped in social equity e orts and Oryana, as informed by our ENDS (goals) policies, is redoubling our e orts related to diversity and inclusion. As our community END states, “Because of Oryana, ecologically-regenerative and socially-just community development e orts are nourished and supported.” The co-op has made clear statements supporting the many voices around the country decrying the unwarranted deaths of people of color and the systemic racisim that still exists. Oryana will be continuing work on our inclusion and diversity e orts at the sta , community, and board levels. (The board discussions on equity started last year as many of the Board a ended the National Co-op conference that was themed around social equity.)
Thanks to Our Team – They are Heros!
I cannot thank the Oryana team enough. The sta  at both 10th and West have been on the front lines, helping thousands, and have served with determination to keep people safe but always with kindness and compassion. They deserve our thanks!
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