We are your friends and neighbors. We care about local agriculture and our community. We want to see the continued growth of a thriving food culture here in Doylestown.
We began in September of 2009 when a group of local residents formed a Food Club to provide our families with better access to locally raised and produced foods. We organized a biweekly ordering, pick up, and distribution system to collect local goods and get them to member families, and we opened up membership to any interested family.
We had very strong community support and interest and capped our all-volunteer group membership due to numerous bottlenecks. In the meantime, knowing that our food club model was unsustainable for a large number of families, we began exploring the possibility of founding an actual brick and mortar cooperatively owned store in Doylestown. This store would be owned and governed by its members, and its primary mission would be to provide centralized and convenient access to locally raised and produced foods. Our very first outreach to the community was at a well attended Town Hall meeting in May of 2010. Buoyed by the response, we incorporated and plowed forward with a steering committee which worked hard, with the help of Weaver’s Way and other regional cooperative organizations, to mold the cooperative model we hoped would work for Doylestown.
In May of 2011 we launched our membership drive with a showing of Food Fight at the County Theater and in August of 2011 we formed our initial board. We continued to work hard to get our message out and to raise money with fun and educational community events.
In the beginning of 2012, we suspended the food buying club so that we could devote our efforts and energies to building the co-op as so many of the volunteers running the food club were also very active in the leadership of our co-op. By the end of the year our member households numbered 85. December of 2012 took us over 200 households.
In the early spring of 2013, our members voted to use their member equity to start a small store in the Doylestown area rather than wait until we could fund a larger, full-size cooperative grocery store. We found a wonderful site right on State Street in Doylestown and took possession of our Phase One storefront in September. We spent the rest of the year, with amazing effort and many, many volunteer hours, creating our co-op.
In January of 2014 we opened our doors to our members and the public. Our official grand opening was scheduled for February 8th but was delayed due to extreme weather conditions. Our grand opening was March 22nd and our membership stood at more than 375 households. Nearly two years later, our membership has about 535 members in good standing. Will you add to that number?
How many times have you read The Appetizer and decided you really wanted to join, but haven’t made that leap? Our various fundraising events allow us to continue to pay for membership drives, marketing materials, and other expenses, but it is our Member/Owner equity that is truly funding our new store.
We want you to join us. Together, we can make a lasting positive impact on our own community. Let’s go co-op!
If you want to read some of the news articles about us from the very beginning, click here. (link to all news articles - coming soon.)