AGM 2022 – Notes from the Chair

Tēnã Koutou Katoa

It is my sincere pleasure to be amongst you all tonight and share with you the 2022 Chairpersons report for Brown Owl Organics Food Club, whereby you the member are such an integral part of what makes Brown Owl unique. This report documents our work, progress and achievements over the past year.

Looking back on the past two years chairpersons reports I spoke of challenging times, thinking that surely nothing could beat it, until 2022 came along! Brown Owl once again proved that when you put personal opinions aside and work towards one goal, working as one with focus and commitment which enables total success in all areas.

What we as a group had to navigate was momentous, as a committee and the staffing team we respected each other, we valued each other as friends and we cared for one another. That has made us stronger and I feel we have all grown from the experience.

2021-2022 Highlights: Surviving another year! The chiller was installed, a huge undertaking! What it means is that all fresh produce can be kept at an optimum temperature, less wastage, ability to stock milk and other chilled items. A huge shout out to: Gifford Builders, Metalform Engineering, and Mandy Perrin and Lyndsay Noble for laying the foundation. Chiller shelving thanks once again to Gifford builders.

The big move for the Wednesday packing team from Ngongotaha to Riri St, although it was an end of an era leaving the Bowling Club with all the support that the Club gave us. A game changer logistically as we are now packing so much closer to the shop. Thank you to all those who were involved in the move. We were extremely grateful to Gregg Brown who is the Riri St landlord and waived the rent for half a year.

Staffing – Nikki Lorigan went on maternity leave, paving the way for Ayla McLeod to step up from her shop assistant role into shop management and operations. Ayla was a natural manager and coped with everything that came her way with real maturity. Sadly she moved on but we are excited for her in her new position. Nikki returned from maternity leave after having baby Zsalea, we are very grateful to have someone of high calibre to steer the ship. With Ayla leaving we are very pleased to welcome Vicky Armstrong as her replacement as shop manager; Vicky a fully qualified herbalist has been volunteering in the shop since the outset, she is eager to work hard and is well loved by the other staff and customers.

A few changes in the packing and bagging department, for the smooth weekly operations of packing online orders and bagging dry goods. Lulu Dubeau stepped in for a short while, thankyou Lulu. Following Aglika's capable footsteps, Olga Milliken threw herself wholeheartedly into the bagging manager role with streamlining systems and creating a wonderful culture amongst volunteers. Anja Telfer stepped up into the packing manager role with pure grit and determination, going above and beyond her call of duty so much so she launched into the bagging managers role when Olga stepped down. A huge Thank you to Christine Le Roux who worked tirelessly in the shop twice a week plus volunteered her time, Christine has bought a bit of French Flair which is well received. Many changes but all handled professionally and seamlessly. An amazing group of people to be involved with.

Community involvement: A challenging time to be amongst the community but in saying that the Ranolf St shop has enabled the community to come to us, they appreciate connectedness with the staff which is vital in today's world. Brown Owl is proud to support many local businesses and create a space for new and emerging talent to show their wares. For example Brown Owl Kitchen which is operated by our very own Chrissy Winter who develops fresh vegan treats beautifully displayed and Caroline Hartley with her original greeting cards. We look forward to adding to our local stockists.

Volunteers – Brown Owl couldn’t survive without the big hearts who volunteer each week. Volunteers packing every Monday, Wednesday, plus days in the shop. The generosity of giving up their own time to be of service to others is commendable.

Committee – Our second year trading in the shop has definitely brought its fair share of challenges and stresses; the shop has added another element of complexity which could have easily destabilised our small group but no we stuck it out: Mitch Fox, Anne Cobb, Kymberley Eagleson, Chrissy Winter, Lynne Jones, Sally-Anne Christensen, Mandy Perrin, a group of women who in my eyes are super women. I have to add Shelley Gifford who is not on the committee but who is our legal beagle and just like a beagle is constantly on the go when it comes to Brown Owl matters. Sadly we say goodbye to Kym and Mandy who are stepping down, but hopefully not stepping away. We wish them luck with their future plans and are indebted to them for their years of service.

Website Kristy Mayes the website developer and Anne Cobb a committed support person have been working on the website for over a year and its looking like a masterpiece! If it wasn’t for Anne Brown Owl would not have been able to afford such a luxurious asset, her devotion to the cause is outstanding and Brown Owl can't thank her enough. So big celebrations when it is launched anytime soon.

Future Plans: We are very proud to welcome Johnelle Hosking who will assist Brown Owl in strategic planning. Brown Owl has come a long way from its early days of working out of my garage to now operating a retail and online store. The challenges, complexities in every area needs specialised attention especially if Brown owl wants to reach its goals and reach for the stars so I am excited for the future and for what the little organic food club in Rotorua can do for its community.

I extend love and gratitude to all our Brown Owl members and supporters – without you we would not exist. Thank you for believing in Brown Owl… hope to see you instore, or your name on a packing slip!

Alfred Harris talked to me about Co operation and Collaboration two words that I feel sum up this past year. Keep sowing the seed of goodness as the whole world will reap the benefits.

Ka Kite Ano,

Janine Cotter
Chairperson, Brown Owl Organic Food Club 

Organic & Local


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