By Pete Woltz, IFC Board President
Unexpected costs can be aggravating. Last week I misplaced my car keys and had to rent a car to get back home from KC. I thought I chose the company with the most reasonable rates, but when I returned the car I was shocked to see my final bill. With taxes, fees, and adjustments, it was a third more than the quoted price.
I mention this story because we as a cooperative have just come through a remarkable fiscal year that ended on June 30. Thanks to dedicated consumers, popular new products, and an increase in the number of distribution cycles, sales exceeded expectations and we ended up with a $6,300 profit for the year.
However, just like my rental car bill, there have been costs that are not reflected in our profit figure. To keep the Coop alive financially, we lived off of grants and the help of volunteers. We’ve consumed some of your equity, eliminated staff, and underpaid remaining staff. Perhaps most importantly (and thanks to the generosity of Merle Hay Mall), we have paid no rent.
Unfortunately, to use a term we local food enthusiasts can relate to, these practices are unsustainable. To address this issue, the board approved a modest increase in our fees for the first time in our history. As a member of the board and a participant on this year’s budget committee that approved the increase, let me say that the decision was a painstakingly difficult one.
The decision came down to a question of sustainability. Our success in 2013 gave us a glimpse of what the IFC can become. It was the unanimous opinion of the board that we embrace our destiny by creating a business that is financially sustainable. This remarkable local food delivery system that we have built together these past four years must not be allowed to go away due to the lack of adequate funds to cover costs.
We have turned five and have matured as an organization. It is now time to accept our financial responsibilities and keep this truly unique organization serving us for many delicious years to come. Thank you for supporting this decision and KEEP SHOPPING!