Since 1974, the Willy Street Co-op has offered an ever-expanding selection of natural and organic products. They sustain a tradition of quality foods, customer service and education, while striving to uphold owner values in everything they do. Willy Street Co-op is not only dedicated to their history and neighborhood, but is equally as dedicated to their members and workers. Today, the Co-op has over 30,000 owners and the number of employees has grown to around 350. As their $41 Million business continues to grow, Willy Street Co-op proves that innovation can coincide with staying true to your roots.
In 2010, after opening an additional store location, Willy Street now had two retail sites, a production facility, administrative offices along with a growing staff. Their plethora of communication channels included a Drupal-based social networking tool, a Wiki-based tool (used for instructions, documentation, meeting minutes, and other files), and multiple platforms for email and calendars (Mozilla Thunderbird and Mac OS X - to name a couple). Among their various Operating Systems were Windows XP, 7, Mac OS X 10.x and Linux Ubuntu. As for Office tools, the Co-op employees were using anything from Microsoft Office to OpenOffice to LibreOffice, and even non-business Google Drive accounts. There’s no doubt that it was a lot to manage and even more difficult to keep the company’s information secure. The executive team was demanding something better. “I was under a lot of pressure to prioritize collaboration tools, especially calendars, and so my research started there,” recalls James Phetteplace, who is the Information System Manager for Willy Street.
The Co-op was in need of a solution that would not only simplify technology for its end users and keep consistency across all systems, but one that would bring people from multiple locations back together. G Suite incorporated everything that Willy Street needed and wanted, and they knew the tools would allow them to scale for the long-term. When Phetteplace and Willy Street’s General Manager decided to go with G Suite, it wasn’t long before they were connected with Cloudbakers. “Quickly and professionally, Cloudbakers worked with our IT Team to plan for implementation,” stated Phetteplace, “the project outline was established and the Change Management process began.” Willy Street was on their way to being productive on day one.
In October 2013, Willy Street Co-op went live. In the weeks leading up to the migration, training sessions were held and there was never a lack in communication between the leadership team and Cloudbakers, nor the leadership team and their end users. Phetteplace admits, “The philosophy of over-communication and change management was highly valuable.” The Willy Street staff went home on a Friday, and came back to a successful G Suite delivery that Monday.
Six months after the implementation, results from a survey taken by the Willy Street staff indicated an extremely positive experience with the transition. The early adopters of Google Drive started using it immediately, and gradually, more staff picked it up with no additional training. Phetteplace explains, “usage statistics indicate very steady growth in use of all tools.” Because of G Suite, the Co-op has been able to leverage mobile devices as well as add eight Chromebooks and seven Android tablets into their environment. Phetteplace is excited and confident to see those numbers grow in the following 6-12 months. G Suite has given Willy Street Co-op the tools they needed and will continue to give their company an innovative edge.