On Sunday, December 8 at noon, we closed our store at 1355 Exchange, saying goodbye to a beloved space that we’ve outgrown. This place is an important part of the co-op’s 45-year history. It helped nourish us in many ways for a decade. More than just a place to get groceries, it has been a source of steady income for local farmers and donations for non-profits. We have seen our own children and those who frequent the store grow up right before our eyes. It’s where we connected regularly with cool people in our community.
Our old store provided good jobs and a lively work culture. The little office in the back was crammed with ten workstations and also served as a break room and receiving area. As you can probably imagine, our staff is looking forward to not having to wheel groceries through the front door in the rain and having a nice place to relax and eat lunch without interruptions. Our new building will offer these amenities, but many of us will kind of miss the bonds and energy that came with a small crew and such close quarters.
Now we’ve nearly doubled our workforce in what feels like overnight. Much credit goes to our general manager, Matt Stanley, for wanting to preserve the special work culture that we created at our old store. Using a model from another co-op, he articulated this culture in a training and management document called “the co-op way”. It spells out how we treat one another like saying “hi” and not talking behind people’s backs. It reminds us to be “in the know” about things happening in the store and to strive to be high-achieving.
This is just one example of how your co-op and all the good things it embodies will live on, as we reopen at our new home. There are so many memories our old store on Exchange holds, but we will now have to carry them in our heads and hearts as we grow.
Our brand new building at 2350 Marine Drive in Astoria opens on Wednesday, December 11 following a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. More info…