Organic food is on the move, just not yet
A popular food co-op in Albany had planned to move to a new location on Watervliet Avenue Extension by this spring that's much larger than its Central Avenue store. A poor economy meant members had to wait for the plan to ripen. So now what? Britt Godshalk reports.
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ALBANY, NY -- Ray Ratte has been standing behind his cash register for years.
"Twenty five at least," said the Honest Weight Food Co-op Member. 'Once a week."
"My wife and I work here for two hours and we get a nice discount on the food that we buy," said Ratte.
"The Co-op really provides all natural kinds of fruits and vegetables, even their package foods and breads," said Cindy Werner, another member. "Their sprouted breads and foods are wonderful."
But soon the members of the Honest Weight Food Co-op on Central Avenue in Albany will pack everything up from asiago to zucchini and head to a new address for the first time in 15 years.
"I remember when we moved to this building in '95 and it really was the most exciting time and I'm looking forward to doing that again, moving on to something bigger and nicer," said Nate Horowitz, the co-op's member coordinator. "We expect to be open and ready in the new store in the summer of 2011."
For months the sign on Watervliet Avenue Extension promised the arrival of the new store this spring.
"Although the Co-op has had a very good year, lending markets have dried up to some extent," said Horowitz. "So it was a little more challenging to find the right financial institution to work with than we had initially thought it would be."
The Co-op says it now has the funding in place and it's also accessed over 600 thousand dollars by thinking outside the box.
"We're particularly interested in getting loans from our members," said Horowitz. "Honest Weight has over 6 thousand members. Those members are the owners of the business."
The Co-op is now narrowing down architects and engineers for the project. Each proposed plan involves demolishing the building that is currently on the new property as early as next month. It's just too costly to renovate.
"I'm sure the parking will be better," said Werner.
"I guess the biggest thing would be room," said Ratte.
In fact the plan is the new store will be twice as large, including a much anticipated expanded deli.
"With a really nice to sit and eat and meet and talk with people," said Ratte. "And shiny new cash registers yeah haha."
He hopes to spend the next 25 years behind one.
Once a week.
"Oh I hope at least that," Ratte laughed.