Philly Grocery Co-op Day promises community focus, support of small businesses

Jon Roesser, general manager of Weaver’s Way co-op, with Mayor Jim Kenney
Photo credit Hadas Kuznits/KYW Newsradio
PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — In a brief ceremony at City Hall on Friday morning, Mayor Jim Kenney declared Saturday the inaugural Philly Grocery Co-op Day. 

Jon Roesser, general manager of Weaver's Way Co-op, says he hopes Co-op Day brings attention to the benefits of shopping at or being a member of a cooperative business.

"With co-ops, there tends to be a lot less economic leakage where money is going outside of the region," Roesser said.

He says grocery co-ops greatly support local producers and farmers, and buying local keeps money circulating among small businesses. 

"Weaver's Way and the four other Philadelphia co-ops combined support over 500 independent local businesses," he said.

He says there's a big difference between corporate chains and local businesses.

"Amazon owns Whole Foods, and Acme is a division of the Albertsons Corporation, and Giant is a division of the Ahold Delhaize Corporation. And so, those big corporate chains, they're here to extract profit from our region, where co-ops and locally owned independent grocers are members of the community," Roesser said.

Annette Griffin, board president of the Philadelphia Area Cooperative Alliance, or PACA, says with local money comes local influence.

"When you start having businesses in your community owned by members of the community, you can take control of your community," Griffin said.

She also says co-ops aid in the fight for social and food justice.

"And co-ops have been a way for Black and brown people throughout history to work together to establish something for themselves."

Roesser said if you live in a community where there's no grocery store nearby, and you're waiting for a for-profit chain to put one in your community, don’t.