Weavers Way Representative Talks Co-ops With Roxborough Group
A Weavers Way board member discussed the possibility of a new area food co-op with the Ridge Park Civic Association in Roxborough Thursday.
Earlier this week, Manayunk Development Corporation Executive Director Jane Lipton said a group of business owners and residents began to test the waters to see if a food cooperative is something the community wants.
Weavers Way President David Woo introduced the idea to Ridge Park members.
"We're in an exploratory process right now to find out if Manayunk and/or Roxborough-Andorra communities have some interest in supporting a consumer-owned grocery store," Woo said.
The Beginning of a Co-op?
Everything is still very preliminary, Woo said, and the goal for all groups currently is to see if this will work. That means no decisions have been made on locations, member rates, financing or even if Weavers Way will be affiliated.
"We just want to find out if there's interest in either starting a cooperative or bringing a cooperative in," he said.
Currently, Weavers Way has two stores, which are open to the general public.
"There's also a chance to share in the company's profits. We're not owned by a private family or corporate partnership or shareholders that we have to make money for. We are owned by the members," he said.
Weavers Way's Role
"We're not locked into anything. And we don't know at the moment if we're going to do this. It's going to depend on.. if there's enough community support to bring us in," Woo said.
Financially, Woo said Weavers Way is unable to carry any more debt due to its current mortgages. If the existing co-op is involved, Woo said, there needs to be a creative way to finance it.
"If it's not a Weavers Ways Co-op, then the community is going to have to raise quite a bit of money in good faith and take out a loan to do the rest of it," he said.
Woo drummed up support for an April 18 meeting somewhere in Roxborough or Manayunk at a to-be-determined location. There the initiative's true direction will take shape. If it goes well, Woo said key volunteers will need to emerge.
Organizers launched food cooperative Facebook page Tuesday, and recently retitled it Manayunk-Roxborough Food Co-op. Woo said people can track meeting information and join the discussion there.
For more information on Weavers Way, visit its website.