The last time we checked in with the South Philly Food Co-op, they were just getting off the ground with a neighborhood community forum and surveys. Now they’re incorporated and are hosting various events throughout South Philly to raise awareness and raise funds for the initiative, and trying to get enough members to join in order to select a brick and mortar location. Alison Fritz, President and member of the Operations and Outreach committees, notes, “While some start-up co-ops have gone the route of rallying members around a location, many others have been hurt by that when their original location fell through. We are hoping to rally people around the concept of a co-op and then determine location in a business-savvy way.”
Right now they’ve secured 86 household memberships, and are aiming for about 250-300 members to invest before they begin the process of looking for a site. They are working on some preliminary projections, and will take the following factors into consideration: where the member-owners are located, the real estate market, market analysis on potential locations, and accessibility (via walking, public transportation and parking).
This fall, the co-op will be working with Wharton Community Consultations to help them figure out how to proceed (read more on this here). Fritz added, “Ultimately though, how quickly we move is 100% dictated by membership. We always tell people that the best thing they can do in helping to determine the location is to become a member, and get as many of their neighbors on board with the idea too.”
We’re thrilled by the idea of a food co-op opening by 2013, so spread the word to your friends and neighbors, and consider becoming a member-owner too. The co-op will be open to the public, but member-owners will get privileges, like special discounts, the ability to vote for the Board of Directors, and a say in the pending location. The one time investment is only $200 (refundable should you choose to leave the co-op), and the faster they get members, the faster they can start looking for a location somewhere in South Philly! We’re so excited, we might join twice.