How does a relatively small business compete with the likes of Whole Foods, ACME, and some of the other grocery store giants?
Weavers Way is one of the longest-running of Philadelphia-area food co-ops, launched in 1973 when neighbors in West Mount Airy formed a produce-buying club in a church basement. Soon after, they opened a store at Carpenter and Greene Streets and expanded to Chestnut Hill in 2010. In October, Weavers Way opened its third store, in Ambler, Montgomery County, and now counts nearly 7,000 families as members, writes Michael Kline for philly.com.
The Ambler deal fell into place through fortuitous timing. A Bottom Dollar store in the borough’s downtown had closed. “As a start-up, we didn’t have resources or credibility to put a bid on the building,” said Kathleen Casey, who headed a neighborhood group wishing to open a co-op store. “We wanted to prevent another grocer from coming in.”
Casey and her fellow members approached Weavers Way, and about two years later, the neighbors got their wish. The store, at 217 E. Butler Ave., is larger than the Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill stores combined. It includes a large prepared-foods section and butcher and fish counters. Prices are about the same as the chains, but much more of the fresh inventory is local.
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