Annual meeting held on Oct. 26

Our annual meeting was again held at the Church of St. Cecilia, a block west of the co-op. At the meeting, several members had questions we didn't have time to answer. Attached and listed below are the questions and their answers. 

Questions and Answers from the 2014 Annual Hampden Park Co-op Member Meeting:

Increasing the Share Price and Alternative Share Questions/Comments
- Do we need a membership vote to raise the stock price? How much would stock price help
in getting a new loan?
Yes. A membership vote is necessary. Anything we can do to increase our bottom line will help
us to be suited for funding. We are currently meeting with lenders to see how we can leverage
ourselves for the best funding option.


- Increasing the share price may limit membership, and we need members to purchase the
products. We could assess an additional $5, 10, or 15 per year to garner a small increase in
total revenue. Currently I am also a coop member in Hackensack MN. A great coop 100%
volunteer, low prices and the membership is five dollars a year. Therefore I encourage the
board to think carefully before making a change. This issue has been wrestled with many times
in the past.
This is a new idea we had not heard before. Thank you for the input.


- I hope no individual corp., non-profit, or foundation – entity – can acquire 51% of our stock.
This is not probable. A member is entitled to one vote, regardless of the number of shares the
member owns.


- Do you anticipate needing to get additional member financing (C or D shares; or loans) for
the mortgage refinance? What are different types of shares for the co-op?
We currently have A stock and B stock. A stock is the typical $30 share. A sale of C stock is
one approach other co-ops have used to raise capital for certain projects. This could be one
approach to raising capital for refinancing the mortgage, paying back member loans, or other
capital projects.


- We should strongly consider raising the share price – $60 seems fair.
Thank you for the input.


Seniors Discount Related Comments and Questions
- Link senior discount to raising the stock price. Seniors can keep their $30 stock and have a
lower discount and not have to buy more expensive stock upgrade.
Any change in stock price will require getting legal advice about how to proceed. This would be
an interesting idea to run by a co-op attorney to see if this is a viable approach.


- I think it is a good idea to lower the senior discount. We could reach out to seniors for
volunteer positions if they need a larger discount. They generally have more time.
Thank you for the input.


- Reduce the senior discount now, don’t just talk about it.
As far as the discount goes, we have not made a decision yet. We are currently discussing the
best route to take.


Building Refinancing Questions
- What is an interest-only loan?
An interest-only loan is one where the monthly payments go only toward interest, nothing
toward the principle.


- Do we know positively that payments for a refinanced mortgage would be less than the
interest-only payments?
This is a possibility, but it will depend on the terms of the loan -- length of loan and interest rate.


- What is the amount of the loan we are looking for?
$554,000 est., including expenses 555,495.


Profit and Loss Statement Questions
- Employee benefits are not noted in the P/L. Please explain.
It is not a separate line item, and it is included in payroll.


- Is there an auditors report?
We are securing a review from an auditor at this time.


Outreach
- It is great that we did a member survey – but we need to do a survey of non-members, in
fact, non-shoppers, would be critical. E.g. – of those in surrounding apartments why don’t they
shop at HPC? What would make them want to?

- One word: MARKETING. Ok, a second word: IMAGE. We need to create an image of
HPC being a great place to get your everyday groceries. And reach out to all the people in
the apartments near by/green line folks. Lets do some fun creative marketing. Not just flyers/
visibility but incentives – e.g. 5% off some items, BOGO some item etc. Busy millennials what
about online ordering and the ability to pick up groceries or have them delivered (even by
volunteers) within one mile?

- Eastside co-op in NE contributes snack foods to National Night Out: Maybe HPC should
consider this in the future (great way to advertise).

- Are we advertising on the light rail at the Raymond station to take advantage of the HPC’s                                                location near the transit hub? Also are we advertising at the newer apartments on university?

- The street signage is good, and with time it will prove more effective.


"This answer addresses all questions and comments in the section."
Yes. There is no doubt that we are in need of more marketing. We are hard at work spreading
the word. If you have more ideas of how we can achieve improved marketing please send them
to us or leave them in the comment box at the coop. In addition, you all can help by talking
about the co-op in your inner circles - increasing the shopper base is vital to our continued
success.


Comments and Questions on How HPC Could Improve Finances
- Cashiers do not regularly ask customers to round up, why not?

- Cashiers do not ask if customers want to donate their discount, why not?

- We should be catering community events with our soups and other deli items, why aren’t
we?

- We could ask volunteers to take a lower discount (10-15% instead of 23%).

- Can cashiers start asking customers (especially members) to round up or donate their
discount?

- Regarding the 365 campaign - it would be good to have a clearly identified goal and a hokey
way we can track it weekly like a thermometer, so we can all see it.

- During construction next year consider delivery.

- What is the goal of the 365 day campaign? Is it a certain amount of money? And how can be
monitor it?

- Reduce the discounts to 20%, 10%, 5%.


"This answer addresses all questions and comments in the section."
Our immediate goal is to increase our net income from a negative to a positive number. We
are in need of refinancing in order to continue under our existing structure. We are working on
a platform to showcase our successes. Thank you for your input, please email or leave more
ideas in the comment box.


Other Comments and Questions
- Credit card fees are very high in P/L.
- Credit card fees are 45k, people should use cash when they can. If people use a debit card
we can avoid the fees.
Yes. Credit card fees exists as part of doing business. One option to consider is to pay in cash
to help alleviate the expense.


-What was the cause for the spike in insurance costs and maintenance this year? We had a claim                                             against our policy. The increase in our maintenance cost year over year was due to                                                               repairs to our aging equipment.


- The coop is perceived to have high prices compared to other coops,is this true?
Yes. Our prices are slightly higher than you you will find at other co-ops on some items. To
be quite frank, we do not have the same buying power as other coops based on our size.
To remain competitive we offer a discounts, offer end cap specials, and are working hard at
creating to-go items in house.


- When is the dried fruit and nuts section going to be converted to bins like all other coops so
people can choose how much they want? This could help decrease labor costs and increase
sales. For now, we plan on keeping our system the same. We have tried the bulk bins in the
past and found them to be ineffective.


- What is the percentage of sales, members v. non-members? And has this changed since
HPC owned the building?
It is running around 50 percent.


- How is the round-up campaign going?
It is going well! Our total is $1,600.00. We have seen a recent increase of about 50% since we
started the campaign. We are also launching a Donate your Discount fundraiser this month.
Our goal is $10,000. Simply tell the cashier you would like to donate your discount.


- Are volunteers insured when they work? Are there disclaimers about injuries? Could this be
a liability?
Yes. There is continually strong member desire to retain the volunteer program.


- More small cheese slices.
- Rice and beans in the deli area.
- Better kitchen and store recycling.
- Compost
- Rinse non-sticky plastic bags and reuse them.
- Recycle paper.
- The soup and deli island is good along with the deli sandwiches, and bakery display. The
produce displays have improved.

"This answer addresses all questions and comments in the section."
Thank you for all the great ideas. We are working on being more environmentally friendly and
really appreciate the comments from members and non-members alike. Please continue to
provide any ideas to the coop via email and or the in-store comment box.


- The present board membership is comprised almost entirely of men, with the lone woman
departing. I would like to see gender equity written into the bylaws for board membership.
We would also like to see a board of directors that best represents the membership of the coop.
The board has and will continue to actively reach out to all members prior to elections to submit
an application to become a member of the board. At the annual meeting the present votingmembers
vote for the board candidates (including members that have submitted a formal board
application as well as any member who chooses to run from the floor at that time). In the recent
past we have not had enough female applicants to achieve the goal specified in this comment.

- How about having a slate of board candidates vetted by the board of directors? Good idea.