FROM CO-OP TO COMMUNITY GROCER
The Kennett Food Co-op, which slowly evolved into Kennett Community Grocer, all began when Britton Mendenhall was having lunch with a fellow food-enthusiast and farmer friend. Over a bowl of rice and veggies, she discussed the food system and how one person could hope to make a difference in a system so large and overwhelming. As Britton began brainstorming all of the changes she would like to see in her local food environment, her friend, who had worked at Weaver's Way Co-op in Philadelphia, mentioned that a food co-op seemed to be the perfect model to connect all the dots. At the mention of a food co-op, a light bulb went off, and the idea was born.
A few months later on a cold, rainy night, the first community meeting was held at the Garage Community and Youth Center. Fearful the weather would affect the turn-out, Britton and the other members of the steering committee were overjoyed and encouraged to see over sixty community members arrive at The Garage.
Overwhelming community support for a food co-op was felt that night in The Garage, and it solidified the effort to begin making the dream happen.
The Kennett Community Grocer will be a community-owned grocery store, located in the center of the borough, that aims to meet the food needs of all the residents in Kennett Square and surrounding areas.
- Provide accessible, affordable, local, natural foods to the entire Kennett Square community and surrounding areas
- Use sustainable practices and encourage the promotion of greener lifestyles
- Serve as an educational hub and resource center to assist the community in living healthier lifestyles
- Improve the food system by recovering produce and repurposing food that would have gone to waste
- Provide affordable and/or subsidized grocery options to lower-income individuals and families in our community
- Serve as a communal space for all members of the area to come together and strengthen the community
How has Kennett Square Food Co-op transformed into Kennett Community Grocer? How have we moved from lunch for two all the way to a grocery store fully stocked with all of the food and household goods you need?
Answer: As a community.
Progress towards opening our store has been based on the growth of our store's ownership. As more community members decided to invest in their community by becoming owners of this business, we have begun to progress through steps that will create the space, fill the shelves, staff the departments and make sure the lights are on for opening day!
The Kennett Community Grocer's Progress Line details its journey from a food co-op to a community grocer. Why a Progress Line and not a timeline? Because the success of this business isn't driven by weeks and months but by the enthusiasm and investment of the community members. As Member-Owners join Kennett Community Grocer, they add to the financial, social and human capital needed to check off these items.