Special Meeting Report

April 27, 2023

There was an extraordinary turnout from the community to discuss Steep Hill’s future. 154 attended, including Ward Councilor Cynthia Block. There were questions, concern, energy and enthusiasm for keeping the longest running local food cooperative in Canada open!

A group of Steep Hill Food Co-op members holding up their yellow voting cards at a special community meeting.

The history of events that led to the Board deciding to close the store was laid out. Continued losses from the road closure of Broadway through Covid had depleted all reserves.

A group of members had met on April 12, 2023, to investigate solutions that could lead to Steep Hill remaining viable. An Action Committee was formed and an immediate 3-part Action Plan constructed to stem the losses.

First, to immediately become cash-positive by reducing staffing costs through reduced operating hours. Second, install a computerized POS (Point Of Sale) system to properly track sales and inventory in real time while allowing for proper monitoring and control of the Co-op’s finances.

And third, to launch a GoFundMe fundraising campaign to raise $50,000 as soon as possible. Reaching this goal will allow Steep Hill to replenish inventory and have sufficient working capital to pay suppliers and employees.

Many good and thoughtful questions were asked and answered. An online Survey was also launched as a way to get further input from Steep Hill members and the broader community. Fill it in to share your vision for Steep Hill and how you might be involved in making it happen.

The members thanked the outgoing Board for their service with applause by all in attendance. Members voted in favour of a motion to dissolve the current Board, and then passed a motion to appoint an Interim Board that will serve until elections at the AGM in June. The members who volunteered to form an Interim Board introduced themselves to the gathering.

The Interim Board has started the work to put in place measures they believe will allow the Co-op to continue to operate, and move from struggling, too viable to thriving. There is much energy and optimism to keep Steep Hill open! You, as members, have made this possible and will be the key to future success. Bravo!