Hanover — The Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society Inc. posted a loss of $125,000 for 2016, which is down from net earnings of $81,000 for 2015, and down from net earnings of $170,000 for 2014.
Sales for 2016 were nearly $72 million, up more than $1.5 million from 2015 but down almost $3 million from 2014.
“The single largest contributor to the loss was overly optimistic sales goals for 2016,” General Manager Ed Fox said in a news release. “To put it simply, our projections were just too lofty. When you reach high, sometimes you overreach.”
Fox, who succeeded Terry Appleby, the Co-op’s longtime general manager, in September after stints at the Vermont Foodbank in Montpelier and Cradles to Crayons in Boston, said strong 2016 holiday sales helped offset losses from earlier in the year. Managers have set “new, realistic sales forecasts” for 2017, he said, adjusting expenses to match projections.
Expectations for 2016 were high in part because of the $5.3 million renovation to the Hanover food store, which was completed late in 2015. Sales were strong, but they failed to match projections and budgets. In addition, monthly discount days for members and other forms of instant “rebates” directly affected total sales.
“The good news is that the Co-op continues to make substantial progress at becoming a tighter, fitter organization and we’re in a great position for the year ahead,” Fox said in the release. “No one can predict the future, but we should end 2017 on very strong footing and with a small surplus.”
Fox said education and outreach efforts, sustainability initiatives and community-service programs, along with staff training and benefit investments, were left untouched when the Co-op sought to cut expenses.
The Pennies for Change program, for example, launched in the summer of 2016, raised more than $137,000 for local nonprofits.
“In 2016, our staff, members, and shoppers contributed to a thriving local economy, helped nurture and protect the planet, provided a market for hundreds of local producers and small family farms, and raised more than $100,000 for charity,” Fox said in the release. “We’re certainly disappointed that sales didn’t meet expectations, but it’s hard to call that a bad year.”
The Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society, which does business as Hanover Co-op Food Stores, is a not-for-profit business owned by its 20,000 member families. Founded in 1936, it now operates retail food stores in Hanover, Lebanon and White River Junction, a market and service center in Hanover, and a commissary kitchen. It employs nearly 400 people.
A free workshop on Wild Apple Tree Release and Pruning will be held on March 11, from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., at 218 Dickerman Hill Road, Tunbridge. Paul Harwood, Rich Chalmers, Dave Paganelli and Larry Mengedoht will lead a joint Vermont Coverts and Vermont Woodlands Association event focused on how to release and prune wild apple trees to preserve them and to enhance them for better production of food for wildlife. There will be a discussion on the basic principles, a demonstration, and then a hands on pruning session for those that want to practice. Participants may bring their own pruning and safety equipment. For more information, email email@example.com or call 802-
The Upper Valley chapter of SCORE is offering a spring workshop series on Thursday mornings beginning March 9. The workshops will be held from 9 a.m to noon, at 20 W. Park St., Lebanon, Suite 316, in the Citizens Bank Building. The series schedule is as follows:
March 9: QuickBooks — Focuses on using QuickBooks financial software to help plan and run a business.
March 16: The Valuation and Sale of a Business — Targeted to those considering selling a business. It will discuss the process of business valuation and the implications of business ownership.
March 23: Internet Marketing Fundamentals — Covers the basics of starting and maintaining an internet marketing campaign.
March 30: Marketing through Internet Search Engines — How to get your website and products discovered by potential customers who are using search engines.
April 6: Marketing Through Social Media — Engaging with prospects and clients through social media such as Facebook is different from conventional marketing.
Cost is $40, two for $60. Veterans free. For more information or to reserve a spot, visit www.uppervalley.score.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 603-448-3491.
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