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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.

Board Meeting Minutes, May 19, 2016

PPC Admin

Attending: Chris, Russ, Nick,  Danielle, Mike, Molly, Fred, Greg, Eli, Heather
Absent: Tama

1.  Housekeeping

  • Member-Owner guest introduced (Charlene)
  • Approved minutes from April 21  meeting
  • Board resignations
  • Heather explained that due to changing circumstances in her work life, she will be unavailable to work on the Board, so resigns effective immediately
  • Rich Garrett, the employee representative to the Board, turned in his 2 week notice of separation to take a job at a nearby restaurant

2.  Member-owner input opportunity

  • Charlene asks about possible PPC expansion; some discussion about various opportunities to expand the cafe that were evaluated in the last year
  • Charlene asks about whether the kitchen will accept donations of tools or equipment (affirmative)

3.  Maple City visit: Molly, Chris, Nick and Greg attended a Maple City Market Board meeting to learn about how they use policy governance.

  • Observed how a meeting is run, and how the Board approaches issues without interfering with the GM.  All were positively impressed.
  • Requires a commitment of several hours to understand the principles and learn how to apply them.  MC has a 30 page document on line here describing their policies.
  • MC works with CDS Consulting, a coop consulting organization that offers a variety of workshops and services, website here.
  • Observations:
    • For each agenda item, board members are all asked if they have read provided materials and are ready to discuss them.  If not, item is tabled.  No time wasted.
    • Each item proposed for discussion needs to meet certain criteria.  A published decision tree is applied.  No time spent on items that fail to meet the criteria.
    • MC has a list of responsibilities spelling out what the GM must not fail to do.  There is room for reasonable flexibility.
    • Policy governance is focused on the Board/GM relationship.
  • CDS offers workshops periodically regionally.  One is scheduled for Chicago on July 9.
  • CDS is available for training and consulting at differing levels.  MC pays $6500 annually.  They have a structured call monthly with CDS; quarterly off-site training; and an annual retreat.  Also, a consultant is available as needed on-call.
  • Discussion on 3 options:
  • Individual board members pay their own way to go to the Chicago workshop;
  • PPC contact CDS to engage in a consulting arrangement;
  • PPC board members read and evaluate the MC document on policy governance and decide if it is possible to find our own way.
  • Decision: executive board meeting (plus any others interested) will read the MC document and meet on June 2 at 7:30 pm at the LGBT Center (1522 Mishawaka Ave) to discuss and decide whether to pursue the other 2 options.


4.  Manager’s Report - Greg

  • Greg completed a welcome letter to send all new member-owners describing their benefits and responsibilities.
  • Property tax for PPC was overdue.  Discovered by accident as only the final notice was sent to the correct address.  The amount plus penalty ($6000) was paid in full..  
  • Interest on member-owner loans due have been paid.  About 50 loans are outstanding, and about $500 was paid.
  • Discussion about the benefits or harm of pushing member-owner loan due dates into the future.  Does that just prolong the debt needlessly, or will the store build the ability to handle debts more readily in the future?  Molly requested a special report on the potential cash flow of loan obligations to help decide whether to encourage member-owners to extend loan durations.
  • Danielle walked the Board through the latest Profit & Loss Statement and the Balance Sheet.
  • Greg reminded the board that the open book management chart was posted on a wall in the office, and encouraged members to review it.
  • Three new restaurants are scheduled to open in the neighborhood in the near future.
  • The store is open an extra hour each weeknight and so far the practice is paying for itself.
  • Market Night is scheduled for next Wednesday.  Mike and Tama will represent the board.  The sign up sheet for board members at  future Market Nights is here.  Molly signed up for June 1 and June 15.  June 8 is open.
  • A music group is scheduled for First Friday, June 3.  
  • Support for WVPE will be noted on-line twice a week, once on Mondays and once on Wednesdays.  The times will vary.
  • The city has approved the installation of a shed by the walk-in cooler.  Lowes will install fencing.
  • Sourcing news:
  • 4 responses have been returned for the Farmer’s Market working group from potential producers.  More responses had been hoped for.
  • We will start working with a new regional distributor called Tiny Footprint.  Focused on Indiana and midwest producers.

5.  Lake City Bank and possible refinancing of NDFCU loan:

  • Chris, Nick, Greg and possibly Danielle will meet with the loans manager of Lake City Bank to see if there is any advantage to refinancing the NDFCU loan there.  Questions about whether there is increased equity in the property.
  • Discussion about the meeting with NDFCU a month ago on the same topic.

6.  New store planned for neighborhood:: 

  • Greg reported on a discussion he had with Dave Matthews.  Dave described a plan to build a 9 story apartment complex nearby, and the first floor will contain a store and pharmacy.  The planned date is 1.5 to 3 years away.
  • Greg’s view is that PPC will not survive as we do business now once the store opens.
  • PPC is not a primary store for most current customers
  • 71 member-owners of 720+ spend > $200 per month
  • 155 members spend > $100 per month
  • 4 households account for more than 10% of business
  • Greg  doesn’t see this as the end of PPC, but a time to identify our strong points and decide the what best strategy for future growth is.
  • Discussion about whether a survey should be sent to member-owners to learn what they value most in PPC.  Should we develop our own survey or hire professionals? No decision. 

7.  Meeting ends.