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123 N. Hill St
South Bend, IN 46617


Board Minutes

Board Meeting Minutes are posted to this page roughly a month after each board meeting, because A) the minutes must be prepared by the secretary; and B) the board must approve the minutes at the next board meeting, possibly with corrections.  The minutes are posted after that.

June 18, 2015

PPC Admin

Attending: Susan, Earl, Marie, Aubrea, Greg, Bethy, Molly, Tama, Heather, Mike



Good Tidings and Gratitude

Earl identified new contact who may be helpful in assisting PPC transition from start up to next stage:

Jacob Schpok, exec director

Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship (Indiana state agency)

Earl will follow up to learn how the agency might work with us



Approve minutes from Board meeting (May 28, 2015)




Member-Owner input

Molly reports that she requested seaweed a short time ago, and now it is on the shelf






Board rules, expectations, responsibilities

Discussion about proposed “Shared Responsibilities of Board Directors and Coop Staff” document presented by Susan and Marie.  Attendees agreed to review the document and share suggested changes via email by July 4.  A vote to have Board members sign the document will occur at the following Board meeting.

Susan and Marie



Presentation of March to May activity for 2014 and same period 2015:

  • 13 weeks and same number of pay periods from both years;

  • Overall performance improved much more than expected;

  • Increased revenue;

  • Costs better documented in 2015, and numbers for 2014 are probably slightly overstated;

  • RV/labor dollar and RV/labor hours for 2014 don’t reflect volunteer hours.


Reasons for improved performance include:

  • More efficient work habits;

  • Introducing standardized practices based on learnings;

  • Able to prepare higher volumes and save more in walk-in freezer;

  • Filling community gap for vegetarian/vegan offerings;

  • Work pace is more sustainable this year;

  • Better understanding of catering capacity.


Goals for continued improvements:

  • More standardized methods;

  • Increase staff training;

  • More emphasis on seasonal cooking using locally available and cheaper foods.


Future concerns:

  • Difficult to hire well-trained people at minimum wage;

  • Possibility of overcommitting on catering;

  • Manpower would be an issue if the café was open Sundays;

  • Could use a 3rd person in manager role to help cover vacations;

  • Growth is limited by current model and physical environment.


Greg’s proposal for future growth:

  • Explore potential for a new cafe on west side of the river;

  • Shrink current location to more store with grab & go prepared food;

  • New location would be more restaurant with small store inventory;

  • Anticipate growth for new customers, esp vegetarian/vegan, as LaSalle Hotel and JMS sites are developed;

  • Similar model to Chicory Café, no wait staff;

  • A formal business proposal supporting the change would be required;

  • Timing is critical to meet new downtown growth opportunity.


Exploratory committee to be formed:

  • Chaired by Greg, includes Earl, Aubrea and Mike;

  • May look to Office of Small Business and Entrepreneurship for input.



Manager’s Report

Greg reported that PPC financial reporting continues to improve in quality and accuracy.  He meets weekly on Friday mornings with bookkeeper to review and correct data in QuickBooks.


The new location for PPC financials is


Highlights in the current reports include the following:

  • The Profit and Loss statement shows that wholesale sales are much lower than originally budgeted;

  • The monthly cost of processing credit card usage by customers is surprisingly high.


Because few members had reviewed the reports, there was little additional discussion.  Mike volunteered to bring 6 printed copies of reports to all meetings, and will bring more if requested.


Focus moved to the proposed slushie machine.  The following points were made:

  • Tama has not had a chance to discuss the proposal with the kitchen staff yet;

  • Tama’s experience was that the machines could be very profitable year around;

  • Mixing drinks with your own recipe instead of the manufacturer’s supplies can void the warranty, but the warranty is not very extensive anyway;

  • Maureen has relatives who own gas stations with stores, and they find the machines are popular only in the summer;

  • The slushie machine is specified as a line item in the USDA grant, but the money can be redirected;

  • An alternative use of the grant money would be to replace a refrigerated shelf unit which is costly to operate and inefficient;

  • Location of machine placement is an issue;

  • Another alternative suggested by Aubrea is a professional juicer.  This could use damaged produce, lowering food waste and costs.  The juices could be made in volume and stored in the freezer.  The juicer could be used to make popsicles, if a child-focused product is desired.  Aubrea is willing to learn how to develop a line of juices for PPC;

  • Tama, Molly and Aubrea will organize information for a final vote on a slushie machine next month.



Standing committee reports

Everyone is up to date; problems, challenges, and accomplishments noted




Employee update – Aubrea requested clarification of her role on the board as employee representative.  She will work up a proposed definition with Bethy to be circulated prior to the next meeting for discussion.



Marketing and Communications – Marie is working on an RFP for PPC market research, and found an RFP used by a coop in Ontario that fits our needs very closely.  She will call that organization to see if we can benefit from their experiences.



Membership/Community – Molly is leading the effort to contact every owner member to thank them for their support and encourage them to shop more at PPC.  Monday night she will host the effort to put address labels and messages on pre-printed postcards.


Molly asked for a report on the status of the beer/wine license.  Greg reported that the application was never submitted, because he felt the cost ($750 annually for the license and $500 annually for insurance) was not affordable at present, and also that we do not have a good infrastructure for serving beer and wine in the café.  This lead to a discussion where the following concerns were expressed:

  • The board approved an action that was not followed by the GM;

  • The action approved by the board was too operational and therefore possibly outside the board’s purview;

  • Money was raised at an event to support the application but not used for that purpose;

  • The annual costs of the license and insurance are significant, no budget was generated by the board for the purpose, and other important needs were more pressing;

  • The staff and GM are in favor of a beer/wine license, but are less certain how to efficiently manage the process of serving alcohol in the café after further consideration.


It was proposed that the beer/wine license be included in the study by the exploratory committee considering the possible new café location.



Food Justice – Bethy mentioned the Pride in the Park event scheduled for Saturday; Tama mentioned 3 events, including a St Joseph Hospital promoting to new parents on nutrition; a talk at 1st Methodist Church; and a talk at the YWCA

Bethy, Tama, Earl


Treasurer – Mike to contact Nathan and request an hour meeting to ensure a good hand off on Treasurer responsibilities.  


Board members are encouraged to think of candidates to fill the open positions.