Co-op Board of Directors Announces its Plans to Open in Germantown
May 5, 2022
Yesterday, Weavers Way entered into a long-term lease on a property in Germantown, located at 328 W Chelten Ave, at the corner of Chelten Avenue and Morris Street. This property will be developed into our next Weavers Way store. The commitment to Weavers Way's presence in Germantown comes in response to our interest in fulfilling our mission to provide commercial and community services for the greater good of our members and community, to champion the cooperative model and to strengthen the local economy.
In developing the concept and feasibility for a Weavers Way store in Germantown, General Manager Jon Roesser and his team worked closely with representatives of the Board over many months. The Co-op’s Board approved the long-term lease on Monday, April 25, 2022.
As the Co-op’s Board of Directors, we are thrilled to make this announcement, and look forward to the work ahead. We are excited to become a part of the dynamic and diverse community of Germantown, and glad that we’ll be able to better serve our nearly 1400 Germantown and East Falls member-households, improve access to healthy and local foods in the neighborhood, and create an ADA-accessible, welcoming and inclusive community market.
Our goal is to open in Summer 2023. Our timing may be impacted by supply chain issues present in securing materials and equipment, however. We will keep you posted as we go forward.
Support For a Weavers Way Grocery Store Serving the Germantown Community
We are thankful for the support and input provided by a host of community partners committed to Germantown and the Co-op.
The Co-op has received support for this project from the City of Philadelphia’s Commerce Department. This project will also be financed in part by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, administered by The Food Trust.Many elected public officials and community groups have offered support in the process of securing and applying for grants and low-interest loans. The Germantown United CDC has also played a helpful role and will continue to be a resource.
We are also grateful to the many members who have expressed their enthusiasm for this project during our member forums. We look forward to sharing more details about the project in future member forums, open houses and meetings. Member forums to discuss the project will be held later this month.
A few of the commitments the Co-op makes as it develops this store:
The Co-op will:
- Include all departments in the store, including grab and go foods.
- Provide product offerings unique to Germantown. Community outreach will guide this process.
- Hire locally for all positions, including management-level, with approximately 40 jobs to start.
- Offer additional retail space for hyper-local, Germantown vendors through our Vendor Diversity Program led by Weavers Way’s Vendor Diversity Coordinator, Candy Hasan.
- Apply to be a WIC retailer. (The Co-op is currently in the process of establishing itself as a WIC retailer in Ambler.)
- House a community fridge on site.
- Seek possible development of the rooftop for an educational rooftop farm.
The property once served as an Acme Market. It has the features of a grocery store that are difficult to find: a freight elevator, a clear span and high-ceiling structure with loading access, a parking lot, access to buses and the SEPTA commuter line, and many people within walking distance, including our members. With our Mt Airy store at full capacity, and lacking ADA features, this site will make shopping the Co-op possible for many people.
The building requires substantial rehabilitation. The construction work includes, but is not limited to: the restoration of the building as a “clear-span,” the establishment of prep and break rooms; facade improvements, including masonry work on the front to include large storefront windows (as seen on the original Acme building); installation of an air-lock front entryway; improvements to the loading area in and around the freight elevator and loading dock; parking lot and outdoor lighting improvements; seating inside and outside of the building; basement restoration for work and storage spaces; and, a roof replacement. Consistent with other Weavers Way Co-op building projects, 328 W. Chelten will be restored with green building practices, reusing materials when possible, including its original terrazzo flooring, and installing energy efficient equipment, including a heat recapture system.
In the coming weeks, we will launch a robust community outreach program. In addition to our Steering Committee, along with the Co-op’s Germantown outreach coordinator, Camille Poinvil, a Germantown resident, community gardener, and community organizer, will spearhead this work. If you’d like to get involved in the work of talking to your neighbors or your local community group about the Co-op, please contact Camille.
An outreach office is available at 326B Chelten Ave. Please contact us if you would like access to this space for events, workshops or outreach.
We will also launch a member equity and member loan campaigns, as we have with all store development projects. Stay tuned for further details.
General Membership Meeting - This Saturday, Now Virtual
Our General Membership Meeting will be held this Saturday at 4:00 p.m. Due to the inclement weather, this meeting is now being held virtually, on Zoom. Please note that the agenda for this meeting is full of other important Co-op topics, including the Board of Directors election results, and will feature our Guest Speaker, Kim Fleisher, of Food Moxie. Germantown will be addressed for only a brief portion of the meeting. Please RSVP if you can attend; a link to join the meeting will be emailed to you.
Esther Wyss-Flamm, President
Cheryl Croxton, Vice President
Michael Hogan, Treasurer
De'Janiera B. Little, Secretary