Co-operative Enterprise: Still the Best for Bethlehem!

As news of a possible Whole Foods in Macungie has been spreading, we’ve been getting lots of questions about if or how that store could impact the development of our co-op. We are still confident that the Bethlehem Food Co-Op can and will succeed. Here are just a few of the many reasons why...

As news of a possible Whole Foods in Macungie has been spreading, we’ve been getting lots of questions about if or how that store could impact the development of our co-op. We are still confident that the Bethlehem Food Co-Op can and will succeed. Here are just a few of the many reasons why:

1. Whole Foods might not even open. 
The Hamilton Crossings center, where the store is proposed, hinges on the approval of a tax increment financing (TIF) plan that would allow the development to be funded in part by real estate taxes generated by the project. According to the Morning Call, developers Jeremy Fogel and Tim Harrison, “said they would walk away from the project if the TIF funding is not approved.”

Walk or Bike!
2. You can walk to the co-op
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While we will draw some co-op members and shoppers from around the region, most of our members and shoppers will probably be our neighbors here in Bethlehem. To get to the Bethlehem Food Co-Op, you won’t have to drive to the suburbs through 15 traffic lights to get a red pepper or merge into rush hour traffic on 22 or 78 to crawl to a different town for organic cheerios. Our co-op will be centrally located in town, easily accessible by bus, bike, foot, or car.

3. We’ve got good inclinations! 
The fact that Whole Foods is even considering opening in the Lehigh Valley means that our area is ready to support good food. A huge corporation like that does immense amounts of very expensive and extensive research before even considering a region. So, the fact that this chain is willing to consider our area a big confirmation of our own extensive feasibility study.

Coops are better!4. We are a co-op, not a traditional corporation. That’s a good thing!
There’s a reason why so many of us have been pouring hours of work and gobs of energy into opening the Bethlehem Food Co-Op instead of just finding a business developer or investor to open a chain grocery in town: Co-ops are better. Co-ops are owned by the communities they serve, meaning they exist to improve those communities! For us, these improvements will include (obviously) having a nearby place to pick up your groceries, quality employment and benefits, education and outreach, and community comradery. Even in our first year of development, we think it would be hard to find someone who has regularly participated in co-op meetings and events who would say they have not made a new friend or felt the great energy in our group. Also, since our co-op will be governed by the democratic voices of our members rather than by rigid corporate policies, we will be able to be more flexible and responsive in our business, plus offer incredible cost-saving perks such as basics programs and member discounts.

5.  We work with small farms and producers right here in the Lehigh Valley, supporting the local economy.
Our local connections will give us the opportunity to connect with awesome food producers whose great products won’t likely be found elsewhere. That’s why so many farmers and food producers have become “cooperators” and also sit on our Advisory Committee. By joining and shopping at the Bethlehem Food Co-Op, we will truly be investing in the success of our community.

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commented 2013-12-26 02:27:41 -0500 · Flag
Thank you