A small group of Ambler Food Co-op volunteers recently went on a “field trip” to Weaver’s Way Co-op.
We began our day at the Mt Airy, Carpenter Lane store which also houses the corporate headquarters for Weaver’s Way. The creative use of space was impressive and was certainly inspirational for the Ambler group. The store is housed in all three floors of the corner row property with food prep and storage in the basement, and a cool dumbwaiter for moving items up to the retail space on the upper two floors. The offices and employee lounge filled the three floors of the attached property. The group has worked to create a “village” concept, with plenty of shared space for co-op staff and community members alike. Sidewalk space allowed for plant sales, al fresco dining, a rain barrel, and compost station. Down the street, we visited the Weaver’s Way cooperative pet store!
The journey continued to the Weaver’s Way Co-op Farm in Germantown, just a short drive from the store. Here full-paid farmers, interns and volunteers work, supplying fresh local fruits and veggies to the stores. Our group enjoyed the peaceful oasis and was even treated to a tour of the farm’s composting outhouse!
From there we made a stop at the Saul Agricultural High School, where Weavers Way Co-op Farm, Weavers Way Community Programs and W.B. Saul High School of Agricultural Sciences have collaborated on a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm located on the grounds of Saul High School on Henry Avenue in Roxborough.
The journey concluded with a tour of the Weaver’s Way Co-op in Chestnut Hill, where we enjoyed a lovely outdoor picnic with food from their fresh prepared foods department. This store is considerably more modern inside, but makes great use of an old market storefront, preserving the quaint Chestnut Hill feel. Both co-op store adaptations provided ample food for thought for our Ambler Food Co-op group!
Many thanks to all the Weaver’s Way board members, employees and volunteers who hosted, answered all our questions and generally made us feel so welcome!
-Jean Parry is co-chair of Ambler Food Co-op’s Membership/Outreach/Volunteer committee