Weavers Way Co-op Celebrates Germantown, PA Store Opening May 20, 2024

Weavers Way Co-op Celebrates Germantown, PA Store Opening

Weavers Way Co-op, Philadelphias largest grocery cooperative, last week celebrated the opening of its fourth location at 328 W. Chelten Avenue in the Germantown neighborhood. The 6,000 sq ft member-owned store is a testament to the hard work and dedication of Weavers Way members, staff, community partners and elected officials who provided support to transform the once blighted location into a community hub focused on providing healthy local and sustainable foods and products reflective of the diverse community it serves. The Weavers Way Germantown location will be open to the public daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Consistent with other Weavers Way Co-op building projects, the Germantown location was renovated using green building practices, including restoring original Terrazzo flooring. The signature mural and artwork featuring fresh produce is by Fresh Artists, an innovative non-profit creating real-life opportunities for young artists to engage in philanthropy and display their work while supporting art programs in Philadelphias public schools. All electrical and mechanical systems and the roof were replaced. New storefront windows, skylights and a vestibule were installed, creating a bright, airy and welcoming environment. The renovated building runs entirely on renewable electricity and features a heat recapture system for increased efficiency. Solar panels will be installed by the Clean Energy Co-op through a power purchasing agreement.

Like all Weavers Way stores, the Germantown location will run on a triple bottom line business plan (people, planet and profit), is open to members and non-members alike and offers reasonably priced, high-quality, locally sourced and sustainable healthy food options. The bulk shopping section is both an opportunity to be environmentally conscious and save money on frequently used pantry goods including several varieties of flour, dried beans, lentils, coffee, tea, dried fruits, nuts, grains, rice, pasta, granola, seeds, spices, oils and vinegars in reusable and sustainable containers. The prepared food counter features freshly made seasonal foods prepared for convenience and can be enjoyed at indoor or outdoor seating or as a grab-and-go item. Supporting the community and local businesses, additional prepared foods from Salam Café, a Black-owned Germantown business serving Ethiopian cuisine, will also be available. Further community and local business support includes vendors like Ed Hipps Meats, personal care and beauty products from Willow Grove-based Natural Body Essentials and Germantowns own Merzbachers Bread, which will also supply all the bread for prepared sandwiches.

The Germantown store was funded through a robust combination of co-op member support and public funds. Members provided more than 2 million in loans and member equity. Public funds were critical to the renovation, including support from the US Department of Housing and Urban Developments Community Project Funding Grant, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP), the Philadelphia Commerce Department Neighborhood Economic Development Grant, the Healthy Food Financing Initiative grant through the Reinvestment Fund, a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and a Fresh Food Financing Initiative grant through The Food Trust. Additional funds came through New Market Tax Credits from PIDC and low interest loans from PIDC and Reinvestment Fund.

I am excited that this day has arrived. Led by General Manager Jon Rosser and the Weavers Way Board of Directors, our presence in Germantown reflects the ongoing dedication of Weavers Way members and staff and the commitment of our elected officials and community partners, all working together to provide one of Philadelphias most vibrant and diverse neighborhoods with delicious, healthy, locally sourced food options,said Cheryl Croxton, President of Weavers Way Co-op.

Weavers Way Germantown will also provide 40 new full- and part-time jobs to the community. The starting wage is $16.00 per hour. Full-time employees will receive a benefit package and all employees will receive a staff discount.

Several initiatives to support healthy food access at the store are in place or in progress. The Co-op accepts SNAP/EBT. The Co-op is planning to host outside of the store a community fridge with a pantry for dry goods where anyone can take what they need and leave what they can as a mutual aid effort to address food insecurity. Additional Co-op programs include Food for All, a 15 percent everyday discount at the Co-op for households in need, based on participation in SNAP, Medicaid, TANF, WIC, SSDI, SSI or Military Disability but also for unspecified economic hardship. This discount is stackable with the Co-ops working member discount, bringing the total discount up to 20 percent. To support this initiative, Co-op members can join Round Up for Food For All by rounding uptheir purchases with tax-deductible donations to the Weavers Way Community Fund, the non-profit designed to support the Co-ops healthy food access programs. The Co-op anticipates accepting WIC after inspection in late May and Food Bucks, a program through The Food Trust, which incentives SNAP participantspurchase of fresh vegetables and fruits.

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