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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.

May 28, 2015

PPC Admin

Present: Susan, Greg, Tama, Aubrea, Molly, Bethy, Earl, Marie, Chris, Mike

Good Tidings and Gratitude



7:33 - 7:38

Approve minutes from Board meeting (April 16, 2015



7:38 - 7:39

Member-Owner input



7:39 - 7:39

CENTRAL FOCUS: Defining PPC’s values

Discussion of values (transparency, sustainability and local): how to define so that intentions are clear enough to guide PPC decisions.


Transparency considerations:

  • Where product comes from and how workers are treated;

  • Break down the wall between producer and consumer;

  • Systemic information should be available;

  • How do you know about every ingredient in a product?  How deep can transparency be?

  • Is it enough to just make information about the producer available to the consumer?

  • Can producers be trusted? How about a chart showing who really owns small companies?

  • Suggestion box: form requesting new products should ask requestor to explain why producer is trustworthy

  • PPC can offer available info, consumer can make purchase decisions


Sustainability considerations:

  • Many definitions: ecological/economic/state of customers/state of store/etc

  • Originally about the planet; also, welfare of farmers

  • Should carbon footprint be included?

  • Excessive packaging?

  • Should be earth-centric and about a living wage, but you have to include products that are desired though not local so you have the opportunity to shelf local products

  • Store needs to be self-sustaining, selling food that people buy, with the goal of improving according to values

  • Could use % of products that meet the criteria (2 of 3 values met) to measure annual progress


Need to think more about workable definitions of the 3 values.


Board proposed that Greg and staff take inventory of the store.  What percentage of our existing products meet this criteria?  To be understanding of staff time constraints, Marie made a motion that Greg does this in any way he thinks is possible and report back at the next board meeting.  Greg agreed and everyone voted unanimously.

Susan and Board

7:40 - 8:15

Board rules, expectations, responsibilities

Susan proposed having a board member “contract” that explains the core role of a director.  Handed out an example contract from

  • We disagree with the example in that we don’t believe board members should have to contribute financially.

  • Some did not like using the word contract, because it implies liability.  It is not legal.  Maybe it should be a job description, affirmation, or commitment.

  • Aubrea, employee rep, said the staff would appreciate such an agreement.

  • Marie volunteered to draft this document.  The board voted unanimously to approve.  Directors are welcome to send suggestions.

  • Greg brought up the idea that some board members at other co-ops receive a stipend or a discount.  Those directors who spoke said they didn’t feel like the store could afford it at the moment, but it should be discussed at a later date.




Standing committee reports

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


Employee update


  • The cafe is trying to create a Purple Porch brand.  Starting to make more salad dressings, hot sauces, and granola.  Seems to be working well.

  • Maureen often calls to verify ingredients from distributors.

  • Cafe is trying to keep food packaging sustainable.

  • The cafe is growing exponentially.  They are running out of food, and they’re aren’t always enough places to sit at lunch time.  The work-load is heavy.

  • They are striving for a 33% profit margin and always using local ingredients when possible.

  • Should we raise prices?  Many were wary of this idea.

  • Directors asked if the cafe was making money.  In previous meetings it was reported that the cafe was not making money.  Greg said it is hard to isolate the cafe, but that he would bring back more information next meeting.

  • The cafe has been an important part of the co-op’s success.




Treasurer – absent, no report



Marketing and Communications


  • We recently got signage from Eco Owl which looks great.  They are a local printing firm and member-owners.  They also care about sustainability.

  • Marie and Neal continue to meet each month.

  • Neal has done outreach to schools with new ads featuring kids from local schools.

  • Neal also is doing outreach with local residents, since this is the season when they will walk over.

  • We have an updated ad in Edible Michiana.

  • We have money in our USDA grant for funded market research.  The clarification of our values will help us know what questions to ask.  We will send out RFP to local agencies with a budget in late summer/early fall.  The results will be done by winter, allowing us to plan for the next season.  We should think about what questions we can ask on our own without professional help.






  • SB 150 was a huge success!

  • We had purple aprons.  But volunteers should have things that say “Purple Porch.”  Tama will look around for embroidery.  Maybe Greg’s mom.

  • Chris proposed that we do something to thank the member-owners.

  • This would also get them to shop at co-op more.

  • Maybe a postcard or coupon.  Molly will work with Neal and Marie on this and present a draft next meeting.

  • We could do targeted marketing and have different postcards for different member owners (i.e. those who do and don’t shop at the store.)







Food Justice


  • Tama: Indiana did not receive Double Your Bucks grant.  We could start our own pilot program for $5,000, which would be enough to get us through the summer/fall season.

  • Bethy: We will tabling at the LGBTQ community’s Pride in the Park event June 20th.  Bethy will find volunteers.


Bethy, Tama, Earl


Producer Relations


  • We would like to have more producers at market.  This is Myles’ job, and he will be in Europe June and July.  We have received two new applications, but they have not yet been sent to the Producer Relations Committee.  It is a challenge to find producers for various reasons.

  • They are not just producers, but also entrepreneurs.

  • What is the best way to do outreach?  Probably not social media.




Manager’s Report

Keep updated about finances and other things


  • Greg sent out report to be reviewed before the meeting.

  • We lost $6,000 this month.  Greg double-payed the last insurance bill by accident.  We were a month behind Neal’s salary in our report to the grant.  This will be reimbursed.

  • We are averaging $20,000 a week.

  • Scherf milk has been inconsistent.  We’re not sure why at this point.  We now carry Organic Valley and Sassy Cow.

  • Realtor came and wants us to open a cafe in Mishawaka.  Not interested now, but good to know people are thinking of us.

  • Should we have business memberships?  Maybe use a subscription model.

  • The new walk-in cooler is awesome.  There is condensation with the freezer but it will be fixed soon and is covered under warranty.

  • The questions at the end of Greg’s report were tabled because of time.




Executive Session


Discuss General Manager evaluation


The board convened for an executive session to discuss Greg’s general manager evaluation.  This information is kept confidential.  Susan and Marie will meet with Greg to discuss his strong points and areas of improvement.  We also spoke about ways we as a board can improve and commit to supporting our general manager.


Susan and Marie