South Philly Food Co-op's COVID-19 safety measures include the installation of plexiglass barriers. Credit: Albert Yee
South Philly Food Co-op (SPFC), a community-owned full-service grocery store, makes its official debut on Dec. 23 at 12 p.m., following 10 years of collective organizing, fundraising and volunteerism, and nine months into a challenging pandemic. The store will serve as a community hub providing South Philly residents of all income levels access to fresh, local and sustainable groceries.
Located at 2031 S. Juniper St., between Snyder and McKean Streets, the 3,300-square-foot store will be open 9 a.m.-9 p.m., seven days a week. It will offer products from more than 20 hyper-local vendors, including Philly Fair Trade Roasters, with plans on expanding its lineup of local brands in the near future.Additionally, the store will feature a vast selection of accessible, fresh products including seasonal, organic produce, pasture-raised meats, fresh fish and local dairy farmed cheeses. The store will feature a buy-in-bulk section with more than 50 items, among them beans, flour, granola and nuts.
Member-ownership of the co-op comes with such exclusive perks as member sales, discount days and exclusive access to the Shop South Philly program. The $300 equity investment may be divided in as many as 12 installments, but those who can’t afford this amount can join SPFC through its Community Equity Fund. On Dec. 14, SPFC exceeded its opening goal of signing up more than 1,400 member-owners. Although the co-op is member-based, anyone can shop at the store.
“I am ecstatic we are opening after 10 years of hard work and dedication,” said Lori Burge, SPFC general manager. “Having an incredible community of friends, board members, partners, volunteers and staff who have helped us every step of the way makes opening a grocery co-op during a global pandemic extremely rewarding and showcases the importance of how co-ops benefit neighborhoods.”
The co-op is following all CDC guidelines, which include limiting the number of shoppers permitted in the store at one time to 12, installing social-distancing markers and plexiglass barriers, and daily cleansing and sanitization. The store will also reserve Wednesdays between 9 a.m.-10 a.m. for at-risk shoppers only. Employees will receive hazard pay as well as paid time off that they can use in case they need to quarantine.
SPFC has also launched an online store with local delivery through a partnership with Philadelphia-based Bloc Delivery, with a curbside pickup program coming soon.