The Coop Board met at Carolina Brewery in Pittsboro for a rousing board meeting. In attendance were Board Chair, Brian Gullette, Wilmington Board Member Kevin Cook, Carol Hewitt, and John Hollingsworth. Taking the Piedmont Biofuels Industrial seat was Lyle Estill. Sam Parker, a fuel maker at Piedmont was also in attendance—checking out the board to see if he should take a run at the next annual meeting.
1 – Green Dining Guide
Brian and John will review as part of the data committee and get some feedback to Katie regarding current build and next steps. On a related matter, John and Brian will reach out to Gary and loop Lyle in to have a bigger discussion about how we should set up the database, given the recent database issues that have hobbled Piedmont and the Coop alike.
Database issues – database has to talk to efeuling – $150.00 for an EPROM – read visa directly – question: should we lock up the pumps to allow for direct swipe of visa card? Board indicated Piedmont should consider it. Membership expiration – admin and membership maintenance is far too manual. We need a new, more automated approach. Data Committee will take this into consideration as part of the overall database and card swiping issues.
Bank card services go directly into quick books – so, updating member billing info is one stop shop – bigger question is how do we maintain separate view of customer attributes?
2 – Carolina Biofuels
We discussed the fuel distribution situation in Durham, oil collections in Durham, and our relationship with Carolina Biofuels.
3 – RSB certification
Piedmont is the first to receive it – we need to have a boarder discussion with both the membership and the public at large about what that means – regulatory cost per gallon would be an interesting calculation – intern project? – need to get this message out to the membership in the context of why it matters – john and I will add the regulatory cost-per-gallon project to the data committee to-do list.
4 – LCA
Triangle life cycle analysis – They’d like for us to have QR codes at the pump – talks about the Coop’s LCA, how it drives B corp certification. Lyle mentioned that what would really be helpful is a code that goes to, say, mypiedmont.coop – context, content, usage – essentially an on-demand “statement”
5 – Pricing discussion
We have a price-inelastic good – and we need to remind members of all the reasons “why they buy.” – Think of it like a wheel with each value proposition a spoke – and NONE of them are really about price (sustainability, green, local, energy independence, etc.). RINs are temporarily back – when they are high, Piedmont makes more money on the trail – when RINs are low selling to oil companies makes more economic sense. This creates a more durable demand situation for Piedmont that helps the Coop. On another note, $1/gallon from Feds goes away Dec 31 – therefore need to maintain a mix of each—Aim is to be economically sustainable.
6 – Annual meeting
The board agreed to extend their terms of service into the mid summer—postponing the usual springtime annual meeting and annual report.
7 – Greensboro
Spot approval on Guilford College campus but pot of money to get it done expired. We’ll consider Piedmont’s Greensboro zoning approval to be our “flag on the moon.”
Membership drive in Wilmington – incentives? Contest?