Sunsets West Co-op too successful (to be run by two people)

Sunsets West Co-op board member Jerry George (hat) greets people at the annual Community Celebration in the Sekiu Community Center. Photo by Donna Barr  - Donna Barr
Sunsets West Co-op board member Jerry George (hat) greets people at the annual Community Celebration in the Sekiu Community Center. Photo by Donna Barr
— image credit: Donna Barr

By Donna Barr

The Clallam Bay Sunsets West Co-Op addressed a vital moment in its development at the annual Community Celebration, in the Sekiu Community Center, Sunday, March 16. The celebration began at 1 p.m. and included music, fundraising auction for frigs, product booths and impromptu music jam. An additional dinner, dance and sing-a-long took place. Deejay Eric Hartfield played a wide

variety of music from the 1960s to today. The afternoon's events included a membership meeting, which faced the fact that the co-op has become so successful that it is in severe need for more volunteers.

To organize the volunteer schedule, the co-op needs a coordinator of volunteers and at least two assistants.Board president Jerry George — who ran a successful publishing festival in San Francisco —said, "It's always amazing how willing Americans are to serve if you just ask them." For seven years, Jane and Terry Hielman — working up to 70 hours a week — have led a massive effort to run and organize the increasingly more successful co-op and its gardens and chicken yard.

But they've become overloaded by the huge number of duties involved in the rapidly-growing co-op. They simply don't have enough hours in the day or bodies on board to help with everything from stocking, inventory, re-cycling, to cleaning, picking up orders and shelf stocking. Board members include Jerry George, Al Pelletier, Terry Hielman, Karin Ashton and Matthew Whitacre, but the co-op needs at least 11 people on the board.

The co-op has had a challenging summer season, doing more business than it can handle with the present staff. There has been little fall-off in business during the winter, in shelf sales or soup-and-meals in the Eatery.

The large number of fish showing up on the West Coast promises an even greater number of hungry fishermen than usual this summer.Hielman didn't attend the meeting, instead sending a letter calling for the co-op to become more of a community effort, as would be proper for such an organization. Besides, said Ashton, Jane had 15 meals to prepare back in the co-op kitchen plus sales to care for!

More and more tourists have discovered the north shore of the West End, including surfers and kayakers, who show up at the co-op with appetites built by fresh air and exercise. They sit down for a hot lunch and end up shopping heavily in the co-op.

The co-op is missing opportunities for better inventory shopping because its van isn't running. It needs regular deliveries and may put out a call for volunteers on delivery days. Most of all, it needs its van up and running.

The board discussed the options for co-op closure at least one day a week or keeping the co-op open seven days a week, but with one day without fresh meals.The co-op will make its needs and schedules more available to the volunteer public, which must be co-op members. Membership offers advantages of food and product prices and bulk buying.

To volunteer for these highly satisfying options in a growing community co-op, call Sunsets West at 963-2189.




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