Wine Cellar Nominated for Best of Western Washington

anne marshFor a section of a little store in a small town, the Wine Cellar of Yelm is getting some big recognition. The nominations for the annual Best of Western Washington contest have been announced and the Wine Cellar is holding its own alongside Seattle and Tacoma outlets with multiple locations. Currently, it sits in fifth place. “This is a big honor,” says Anne Marsh, “Virtuose de Vin” at the Wine Cellar. “We’re small. There are huge wine shops that are in the running for this.”

Anne believes that the Cellar’s unique qualities contributed to the nomination. “There are not many wine stores with this artisanal feel, even in Seattle,” she says. “We have some wines that come from vines that are a hundred years old. Nothing grows and produces fruit for that long if it hasn’t been loved.   We have so many good, clean, beautiful wines here. There’s no guesswork in choosing.”

That’s something regular customers already know, and Anne appreciates their excitement and enthusiasm. “I want to thank everybody for their love of the Wine Cellar,” she says. “I appreciate the confidence that people place in me. People tell me, ‘I came here because I wanted something and I knew you would know what wine would go with this food.’ It’s like my heart going out and being shared in a way that others can enjoy.”

A win, or even a top three finish, could have a great impact on  the Yelm Co-op. “It’s important for the recognition from the general populace,” says Anne. “There are so many people who are going to see if we win. When more people know about the Wine Cellar, more are going to come into the Co-op. Our whole goal is to increase our membership and our sales so that we can improve our store and our services, and fulfill some of the things on our wishlist.”

If you’ve never been into the Wine Cellar, there’s no time like the present. Wine tastings are available on Fridays from 1:00 p.m. to close and Saturdays between 12:00p .m. and 4:00 p.m. “What are you waiting for?” says Anne. “Now’s the time. If you haven’t discovered us yet, come in and give us a try.”

To vote for the Wine Cellar of Yelm and help to move us into the top three, vote here:

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Yelm Cooperative Board Officers for 2015-2016

At the Yelm Cooperative Board of Directors Annual Meeting on Sept 24th, the Board voted for the officers to serve until Sept 2016.

Those positions remain unchanged and are:

Bill Wyman                President

Barbara Morando     Vice -President

Tom Dewell                Treasurer

Marilyn Raerdon        Secretary

We are all looking forward to serving you well in the upcoming year of your Cooperative!

~ The Yelm Cooperative Board of Directors ~

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2015 AGM Voting Results

At the 2015 Yelm Cooperative Annual General Meeting held on Sept 5th, the Directors standing for election introduced themselves and the members had the chance to vote for, or against, them. Voting continued with ballots available at the YFC until Sunday, Sept 20th.

Our members really took this election to heart and we had 17% of our eligible voters completing ballots! This is a number much greater than in past years. Thanks for making your voices heard!

The final results were:

Director                                    Yes         No      blank

Diane D’Acuti                            70           2          1

Jeevan Anandasakaran          67         6           0

Tom Dewell                               68         3           2

On Sept 24th, the Directors will hold their annual meeting to elect the officers for the upcoming years. We’ll announce those results when we know them.

This next year will be an exciting and challenging one and your Board of Directors will be doing everything we can to make this a successful year for the Yelm Food Co-op, the Farmers Market and the Yelm Cooperative.

Remember, this is your Cooperative – your membership counts and your voice counts!

~ The Yelm Cooperative Board of Directors ~

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Smith Brothers Farms Delivers Fresh, Local Milk to Yelm and Beyond

Smith Brothers Farms Delivers Fresh, Local Milk to Yelm and Beyond

smith brothersYelm is a rural community, and there’s a good chance that if you’re reading this, you a) own a cow b) have a neighbor who owns a cow or c) frequently see cows while driving home from work. If the latter is true, you may not have direct access to fresh milk, unless you’ve made friends with that neighbor. While such relations are encouraged, you have another option: Smith Brothers Farms.
Located in Kent, Smith Brothers has been delivering milk for over 90 years. In 2006, after legislation was passed that forced the company to choose between dairy farming and processing and delivering milk, they chose to stick with the second option. “All of our milk comes from about five or six family farms,” says Sean Flaherty, Director of Public Relations and Marketing. “It comes in on a daily basis. We process it and deliver it within 48 hours.”
Increasingly, says Flaherty, customers care about values the company embodies. “Our milk has always been hormone free,” he says. “We’re local and we’re fresh. There’s more awareness and because of the internet, there’s so much information about products. We find that particularly in the Puget Sound area, people really like to support local business.”
Recently, the company has been getting a lot of attention. In 2014, Smith Brothers was selected Dairy Plant of the Year out of 12 processing plants throughout the U.S. by Dairy Foods Magazine.  That same year, Seattle Business magazine gave them aLegacy Award for “a company promoting multiple generations of family leadership.” In 2015, CEO and fourth generation family member Dustin Highland was recognized as one of the 40 Under 40 “top business leaders who excel in their industry and show dynamic leadership” by the Puget Sound Business Journal.
“I want the legacy to be that the idea of neighborhood and community still exists,” says Flaherty. “We make milk, but we’re also serving people. The milkmen are the face of what we do. They represent that community local spirit.”
Smith Brothers Farms milk is delivered fresh to the Yelm Co-op. The company also has a both every other week at the Yelm Farmers Market where you can sign up to have milk delivered to your door.

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Co-op’s Original Steering Committee Celebrated at 10th Anniversary AGM

Co-op’s Original Steering Committee Celebrated at 10th Anniversary AGM

AGM 2015When the steering committee for the Yelm Co-op first got together in 2005, they had no way of knowing how tall the seed they were planting would grow. On September 5th, six of the original members of that committee were on hand to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their creation with cake, flowers, and heartfelt thank yous. For Maggie Sayer, Jackie Reid, Ektara Jarecki, Christine Virgadamo, Iris Moore and Carolyn Sheldon, the 2015 Annual General Meeting was a chance to look at how far we’ve come and where we’re going.  

“The vision has greatly expanded, which is wonderful,” says Jackie. “The store is much lighter, has more room and better products. It’s come a long way from the little store that we started with.”  Also, she says, whoever came up with the idea of the Wine Cellar is to be commended. “It’s a great addition.”

This year’s meeting included a question and answer session with General Manager Barnaby Urich Rintz and Farmers Market Manager Karen Rae. “The format worked really well,” says Board President Bill Wyman. “They both did a really good job of presenting their material. We’ll do that again.”

While the organization has made huge progress, says Bill, the need for volunteers remains constant. “It’s a core group of people that have gotten us this far,” he says. “We’re seeing some new faces, but it would be great to have additional support, particularly around events and the day to day needs of the store.”

Attendees enjoyed a cake prepared by local culinary queen Dawn Young, and steering committee members received bouquets designed by Board Vice-President Barbara Morando. “I really enjoyed it, says Jackie. “It was a lot of fun. It was great seeing a lot of the originals there. Seeing where the store is now is like a dream come true.” View Photos

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Co-op Teams Up to Support Firefighters and Farmers in Eastern Washington

Co-op Teams Up to Support Firefighters and Farmers in Eastern Washington

horsefireAs a horse lover, Aria Reed Cissney found certain images from the Okanogan complex fire indelible. “People were frantically spray painting their horses in hopes that they would be able to find them later because they had to turn them loose,”she says. “They were painting their livestock’s hooves. One guy had three horses tied to his truck and he was driving at their pace because he had no trailer to get them out of there. It hit home for me.”

As of Sunday, September 6th, the fire has burned more than 232 square miles and destroyed 123 homes. Currently it is 65% contained, but as the Co-op’s Florence Vincent points out, “There’s still danger and animals continue to get away from their homes. Firefighters are still there working under tremendous pressure.”

Aria and Florence have teamed up to make a difference for both people and animals impacted by the largest wildfire in state history. For the next several weeks, Florence will use all money donated through the Co-op to purchase supplies like dog and cat food for animals and protein bars and drinks for firefighters at wholesale prices, at no profit to the store. “The main thing they’re asking for is trail bars and gatorade,” says Florence. “We don’t have gatorade, but we have a healthier version of it that we can send.”

Aria first got involved through her friend Crystal Carlson, a member of the Stewart family of Stewart’s Meats. “She decided she couldn’t just stand by and was going to donate eight tons of hay,” says Aria. “We helped her load up a flatbed and after that I thought, ‘We’re not too far away to make a difference.’” Crystal has since made several trips over the mountains, and will provide transportation for all items donated through the Co-op.

Both emphasize that you don’t have to donate a lot of money to make a difference. “I wanted to donate, but I figured out that if I donate through the Co-op, my money will go further because we can get things wholesale,” says Florence.  Aria believes in the power of collective action. “Even if you don’t feel like you have a lot, every bit makes a difference,” she says. “If we all get together we can make something amazing.”
If you would like to donate, visit the Yelm Food Co-op at 308 E. Yelm Ave. If you would like to donate hay or feed for livestock, contact Aria Reed Cissney at 360.259.4747 or

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2015 AGM presentation

Our Annual General Meeting on Saturday, Sept 5th was a great success.

We had presentations by Bill Wyman, the Board President, Barbaby Urich-Rintz, the YFC General Manager, and Karen Rae, the Farmers Market Manager.

The highlight was the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the founding of the Yelm Cooperative on Sept 15, 2005.

On that day the following Founders signed the Article of Incorporation bringing the organization to life:
Ektara Jareck, Carolyn Sheldon, Jackie Jo Reid, Maggie Sayer,  Iris Moore, Christine Verdagamo, Alexandria Roberts,  Fran White, Beverly Wright, Laura Losada, Marilee Wallace

Ektara, Carolyn, Jackie, Maggie, Iris and Christine were in attendance at the AGM and got recognized individually and presented with a card and a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

2015 AGM

After the meeting we feasted on goodies from the YFC and 3 fabulous cakes, one in the shape of a “1” and one in the shape of a “0” for the “10” (10th year) and another magnificent “skyscraper” chocolate cake.

2015 AGM

2015 AGM

2015 AGM

If you missed it this year, you can still vote for the Directors by picking up a ballot at the Yelm Food Co-op and you can see the presentation at the link below (it’s a pdf file – you’ll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it) .

This is your Cooperative and you have a voice!

2015 AGM presentation

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Co-op Celebrates 10th Anniversary at Annual General Meeting

Co-op Celebrates 10th Anniversary at Annual General Meeting

AGM1For anyone who supports the Yelm Food Cooperative, this Saturday is something to celebrate. In ten short years the Co-op has gone from a buy club to a brick and mortar store, increased membership, added a thriving Farmers Market, and broken a million dollars in annual sales. Board members will join General Manager Barnaby Urich Rintz and Farmers Market Manager Karen Rae for the 2015 Annual General Meeting from 1:00 to 3:00 at the Yelm Adult Community Center.
“It’s important for members to attend because it’s their co-op,” says board member Tom Dewell.  “This is their chance to speak, to see the health of the organization, to comment to board members in public or private. This is their main chance to make a difference.”  Tom says that it’s also an opportunity to learn where your membership dues go and why being a member matters. “Being part of the Co-op is being part of the vision,” he says.  “This is a way to get a sense of what the leadership is thinking.”
Board President Bill Wyman agrees. “Just because we’re a non-profit organization, the participatory concept of the Co-op has not been lost,” he says. “We listen to our members and want their input. They can interact with the board directly and also with two program managers.”
Key areas of focus at this year’s event will be the success of the Farmers Market, the patronage rebate, and the overall financial health of the organization, says Bill. Members will also have the opportunity to vote for several directors who are up for re-election. The voting period will be extended for those who are unable to attend. Ballots are available at the store for active Yelm Cooperative members. 
Both Barnaby and Karen have time set aside for questions. “We’ll have more interaction between the managers and the members this year,” says Tom. Other important considerations? As always, refreshments will be on hand and this year, there’s a bonus. “Dawn Young is doing a cake because we’re celebrating our 10th year anniversary,” says Bill.

See you at the meeting! 

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Why Willa Listens to Co-op Shoppers

Why Willa Listens to Co-op Shoppers

willa and barbaraDisney World is about as far as you can get from Yelm, Washington within the continental United States, both geographically and socially.

But for Co-op supervisor Willa Cain, who spent eleven years in food and beverage at the Orlando theme park, it was perfect preparation for her current role working with the public. “The common denominator is the customer service aspect,” says Willa, who also spent thirteen years as a traveling bedside nurse. “I really like to listen to people who come into the store and find out what they’re looking for.”

A lot of her job, she says, is communicating with customers about their needs and educating them about what the store has to offer. “It’s a win-win. They give us ideas that we can share with others, and we can let them know all of the things that are available.”

Willa started with the Co-op as a volunteer in April, 2014. “I was looking for a place that sold farm-fresh food,” she says. “When I’d traveled, I would always go directly to the farm. I love organic food. When I came into the store for the first time and saw raw milk, I thought, ‘This is the place!’”

In the past year, she’s noticed some changes. “A larger group of new people is coming into the store to shop. It has to do with the products we sell, but also the fact that this is a hub,” she says. “We make people feel welcome when they come in.” That’s important, because her goal is to educate the larger community. “When you inform people about what we have here, everybody can benefit,” she says. “I want the Co-op to really become the one stop shop.”

Another thing she learned at Disney World: “There’s a little saying that ‘You can design and build and create the most wonderful place in the world, but it takes people to make that dream a reality.’”

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2015 Annual General Meeting

2015 Annual General Meeting

2015 AGM2015 AGM

You’re Invited!

The Yelm Cooperative’s 7th Annual General Meeting

Saturday, Sept 5th, 2:00 p.m.

Yelm Adult Center, 16530 103rd Street, Yelm

Join your fellow Co-op members for an informative afternoon spent building community (and enjoying some great snacks).

This year’s agenda:

  • Overview from Board President Bill Wyman on the progress we’ve made this year with your help.
  • Farmers Market Manager Karen Rae on the successful new children’s program and other improvements and additions.
  • Vote on renewing three-year terms for three current members of our Board of Directors: Diane D’Acuti, Tom Dewell and Jeevan Anandasakaran.
  • Find out what’s new and what’s in the works at the store from General Manager Barnaby Urich Rintz
  • Q & A

Please note: only current members can vote, so make sure your dues are paid up before September 5th! Drop by the store or call in with your credit card information to remain eligible.

As usual, we will have delicious finger food on hand.

We look forward to seeing you!

The Yelm Cooperative Board of Directors

Bill Wyman, President; , Barbara Morando,.Vice President; Marilyn Reardon, Secretary; Tom Dewell, Treasurer; Terry Kaminski, Director; Jeevan Anandasakaran, Director; Diane D’Acuti.

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