On April 7, Weavers Way reached an important milestone. That was the day we officially merged with the Ambler Food Co-op, paving the way to opening our third store, and added some 600 members to our rolls. As I write this, Weavers Way has 6,954 member households! It was less than a year ago that we celebrated becoming “6,000 Strong.” Before the end of this month, we expect to be “7,000 Stronger.”
Beyond the numbers, there is an inspiring story to tell. Merging with Ambler Food Co-op is the epitome of cooperation. At the very core of any cooperative is the group of people who organize themselves to address a mutual need. Often that need arises from one that has gone unmet. Just imagine it. One Ambler member said to me, “If you want an apple or a piece of cheese, you have to go outside of Ambler to get it.” We’ve also heard about the many citizens of Ambler who have limited transportation options and end up buying their food at the CVS. The Ambler Food Co-op sought to rectify this, and they did it on their own terms.
Our members in Ambler have worked diligently for many years to grow a co-op in their community. Joining forces feels like a beautiful meeting of the minds. We are speaking the same language. We are doing it for ourselves and for each other. Ambler needed a grocery store and wanted that grocery store to be a co-op. Ambler knew that a co-op exists to serve the needs of its members. Ambler also knew that, rather than extract resources and run, a co-op would breathe life into the community.
Enter Weavers Way, a thriving, established co-op. We were able to bring the final piece of the puzzle — the bricks and mortar. We came together as two communities with a shared purpose, to sustain cooperative principles and grow the cooperative economy, and to get some good food while we’re at it.
There is a reason for Weavers Way’s strength: the commitment and support of our members. There is also a reason Ambler Food Co-op has finally brought a co-op to their community —the commitment and support of their members!
Our work is not done, however. We all have roles to play. Ask yourself, today, what you can do to ensure the continued success of the Co-op. Member participation is essential to the life of Weavers Way. Number one, shop the Co-op! Number two, spread the word — tell your friends, tell your neighbors. If you live in Ambler, host a house party. (Contact me if this is something you’re interested in doing.) Number three, get to work! Working members commit to six hours of work per adult, per household, per year. One astute member asserted that he could watch Netflix for that many hours in a week. So, he conjectured, he could certainly find six hours to contribute to the Co-op in a year.
There are so many ways to participate. Contact me if you need help getting started and, together, we’ll keep a good thing going!