Fiscal year 2020 was a year of tremendous upheaval and transition. The year started much like 2019 had ended. The co-op continued its efforts to return to profitability, and was on track to do so, until early March when the COVID-19 pandemic reached Minnesota. Seward Community Co-op was one of the first businesses in our community to have an employee test positive for the virus. For four days we closed our Franklin store where this employee worked and thankfully, they had a full recovery.
The activity of cooperation is ancient. Looking back through our collective human history, the idea of cooperation is far from new. Humans learned a long time ago that we are better in community than in isolation. It is the urge to be together in good times and challenging times. It is that urge that pushes us to organize as groups to defend our values and principles. We are owner/members of Seward Co-op because we can shop our values and principles. Many of us shop and work where equality, justice, and fairness can be found more often than not.
2020 Financial Summary
Fiscal year 2020, which ended June 30, was a year of intense challenges. We started the first half of the year making operational adjustments to return the co-op to profitability in the face of continued sales declines. The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as this summer’s civil unrest, accelerated sales declines, while costs increased. This led to another year of losses. We reworked the co-op’s debt repayment plan and we were successful at obtaining a Cares Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan. At the end of the fiscal year the co-op was at its strongest cash position in more than five years.
The summary financial statements have been audited by Mahoney, Ulbrich, Christensen, & Russ, CPAs. A complete copy of this audit is available to owners upon request.