South Philly has its own grocery co-op. On Wednesday, December 23 (2020) the 3,300 square foot South Philly Food Co-op opened its doors a mere block off Broad Street. There are already a handful of food cooperatives in Philadelphia, but what exactly is a co-op?
General Manager of the South Philly Co-Op, Lori Burge, explains, “It’s a community owned business, we’re democratically owned. So, instead of being owned by shareholders, profits stay in the community.”
Co-ops are nonprofit organizations formed by people with a common goal, the South Philly Food Co-op is a consumer cooperative, which means they are a purchasing organization owned and operated for the benefit of those who shop at our store.
Unlike traditional grocery stores, the money spent at the South Philly Co-op stays in the community. For example, “Acme” the popular grocery chain founded in South Philly is actually owned by AB Acquisition LLC (Albertsons). Acme is one of 4,216 companies owned by AB Acquisition LLC, which is publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. This means that shopping at the Passyunk Ave Acme directly benefits the various owners of Alberston’s stock ($ACI), rather than the South Philly community.
Shopping at a co-op is a way to ensure that your purchases benefit your community.
“We prioritize local farmers and sustainable producers,” Burge explains. Working with local farmers expands the community benefit of the co-op while shrinking their carbon footprint.
The creation of the South Philly Food Co-Op is the culmination of nearly a decade of work, the first meeting being held in April of 2010. Heading into their grand opening, the co-op had more than 1,400 member-owners.
For those interested in becoming member-owners, the cost is $300 and can be paid in full at once or in monthly installments ranging from 2-12 months. Ownership comes with perks, but anyone is welcomed to shop at the co-op.