WSM board hiring

My favorite co-op is approaching the annual re/election of of members of its Board of Directors. The structure is unusual (to me, at least).

Weaver Street Market is governed by a seven-member board of directors, four of whom are directly elected by the two owner classes, workers and consumers (2 positions each). Two positions are appointed by the board itself to fill the need for particular skills or knowledge. The General Manager holds the seventh position.

A few years ago, I stumbled upon the WSM Annual Meeting, at which the members have the opportunity to select our two representatives to the Board. But I was then frustrated to find that the ballot was preprinted (with the names of the incuments) and it was too late in the game to propose new candidates. Some years I miss the notice in the newsletter, and so miss the Annual meeting and the opportunity to vote altogether.

To their credit, WSM is always improving. And in spite of the fact that I haven't had much input into it, I think their direction is generally a good one. But as a co-operative institution, I think WSM could do more to improve transparency and strengthen the democratic governance of the organization.

So, any of you thoughtful people want to run for the Board? Applications are due by August 26.



After my term on the WSM board a decade ago, I wrote an article analyzing the hybrid ownership structure. It was published in the Journal of Cooperative Studies in April 2000 and can be found at:

Wow, Dan! That really hit the nail on the head.

Do you feel like WSM made any of the suggssted changes from yor analysis or the audit you referred to?

I really haven't been tuned into internal WSM matters lately. You'd have to ask a current board membre if they were aware of the recommendations of the 1994 (or 93) organizaitonal audit and what the progress has been toward meeting those goals.

Since then, I also served a term on the New PIoneer Coop board in Iowa City. New Pi is a true coop in that it is owned entirely by the consumer memberships who elect all board positions. But it is also pretty much reliant on paid staff.

The New Pioneer members get very engaged in the elections with well over 1000 members voting and letters to the editor in support of candidates. Members also attend board meetings and bring forward policy initiatives.

I'm curious to hear what other folks' experience with the WSM co-op is.

Do you feel engaged? Do you care? Do you really think Carrboro needed an upscale California-Italian-style restaurant?

I had a low three-digit membership number(349, to be exact!)--we joined the very first year WSM opened. I even volunteered for a number of years. I turned in my membership a year ago. (Give or take...)

I felt like WSM was broadening their scope (Panzanella, housing co-op, radio station (!?) and losing their focus on the reason I JOINED WSM--the grocery co-op. Expressed my dismay, felt ignored--gave it a few months--bailed. Service was better at Whole Foods--and frequently prices were comparable or CHEAPER. I felt if they'd plowed that money into the MARKET instead of other projects, they could have kept prices lower--or at least kept the store cleaner.

So now I do 50%+ shopping at WHole Foods--the rest at Teeters. Friends tell me the WSM at Southern VIllage is nice--rather like the OLD WSM--but it makes more sense (from a fossil fuel stand-point anyway) for me to shop at Whole Foods. I live on that side of town now.


So how many other readers here are members of Weaver Street? Enough to sway a low-turnout Annual Meeting?

We need a candidate!

Before you give up on WSM, consider the following:
1) WSM has a greater commitment to organic food than any other store in town.
2) WSM has a greater commitment to supporting local farmers than any other store in town.
3) as a coop, WSM takes seriously the coop principle of supporting other cooperative ventures and has helped the Weaver Cooperative Housing Association and the community radio station.
4) WSM is entirely locally owned with all the positive implications thereof.

Also, some things to know about Whole Foods:
-it is owned by a large holding company that is also a major military contractor
-both Whole Foods and its parent company are known for their union busting (this has been written up in The Nation and elsewhere).


Is Weaver Street's budget public?

Too late dan--I resigned a year ago. And I find plenty of local, organic food at Whole Foods, in a cleaner store, with politer clerks. Retail is retail, and Weaver Street USED to have better service. As to Union Busting--last time I checked my friend who clerks at WF was very happy. She felt she was treated fairly and paid a fair wage.

And I've never had a drunk accost me for money at WF.

Does that make me a yuppie bi!ch?

Well, so be it. But I resigned my membership reluctantly, with sadness, and only after great thought. And only after requesting answers from a board that ignored me. Sometimes it's just time to MOVE ON.


caught this four year old thread in the "random" archive list on the home page.(could just have likely been written yesterday.) anyone have  a working link (or a copy) of the referenced report?


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