August General Meeting Approves Temporary Markup Increase

Illustration by Caty Bartholomew

By Christopher Cox 

At the fourth General Meeting conducted via video, members voted in favor of a temporary increase in the standard markup applied to all products sold at the Coop, responding to the sharp drop in overall revenue during the pandemic. The meeting, held at 7:15 p.m. on August 25, was attended by 451 member-owners. They voted 368 to 63 to increase the markup from 21 to 25 percent, though individual members will be able to opt out of the price increase.  

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New Directions for the Old Stone House

Photograph by Caroline Mardok

By Frank Haberle 

Long before there was a Park Slope Food Coop (or a Park Slope neighborhood, or for that matter, any “Slope” at all) there was the Old Stone House. In 1699, Dutch settlers built a little stone farmhouse by a marsh, on land that had been occupied and used by the Lenape tribe for thousands of years. In August 1776, during the Battle of Long Island, a key battle in the American Revolutionary War, this small building became the focal point of the battle, changing hands between the British and the Americans several times, as the Continental army slipped over the Gowanus. Later, the building became the clubhouse of the original Brooklyn Dodgers; was buried as part of the re-grading of the current neighborhood; and was then reconstructed, along with the surrounding Washington Park, as a WPA project during the 1930s. 

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Checking in with Joe Holtz on Coop Lifelines

Joe Holtz hopes we can find a way to expand the Coop’s hours from 77 per week to 112. Photo Zachary Schulman

By Leila Darabi 

Six months into the Covid-19 pandemic, the Coop is working on increasing store hours, allowing more members to shop at a time and other strategies to bring more cash in the door. 

General Coordinator Joe Holtz described these efforts in an interview with the Gazette in which he also shared an update on finances, delivery and member labor. “Bringing back member labor is the most important essential element of our Coop. It’s the most unique, foundational, spiritual thing about our Coop,” said Holtz who is also the Coop’s treasurer and co-founder. 

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July GM Overwhelmingly Approves Black Lives Matter Statement

Illustration Tommy Kane

“The Park Slope Food Coop unequivocally supports Black lives and the dismantling of all systems that propagate and empower systemic racism #BlackLivesMatter” 

Coop Finances, Temporary Markup Strategy, Return to Member Labor Also Explored 

By Frank Haberle 

Coop members overwhelmingly approved a statement of solidarity and support for the Black Lives Matter movement at the July general meeting after a number of members expressed disappointment that it took so long for the Coop to take a stand on such a heartfelt issue. 

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GM Features Financials, Food, and Friction over BLM Statement

Illustration by Maggie Carson

By Hayley Gorenberg

The June 30 GM veered from troubling financials, to a mouthwatering description of what luscious summer produce is on offer, to an online near-uprising over public positioning on Black Lives Matter.

From the outset several hundred attendees learned there would be no open forum or voting, though Zoom polling figured prominently and became the subject of many members’ ire.

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Black Seeds of Freedom

Photograph by Taigi Smith

By Taigi Smith

It was June 18 and after four months of seclusion, I was on my way to tape an interview at the historic Abyssinia Baptist church in Harlem. I had been producing television from my home for the past four months and I was desperate to get out and see the world again.

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What a Time to Start a Job: the Pandemic and the New Receiving Coordinator

Caroline Mardok Photographer
Moussa Thiam Coop coordinator

By Frank Haberle

In the relatively worry-free days of last September, longtime Brooklyn resident and Coop member Moussa Thiam struggled with a worrisome decision: should he abandon a successful but frenetic 25-year career as a Chef, or set aside his lifelong dream of building a successful film production company that created and promoted new films from Africa?

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Update: Coop Finances Post-Pandemic

Caty Bartholomew  Illustrator

By Christopher Cox

The radical changes to the Coop during the pandemic have protected member-owners and workers alike, but they have been costly. According to General Coordinator Joe Holtz, in late March, when member labor requirement was suspended and shopping hours were restricted, the Coop was losing as much as $120,000 a week compared to the year before. That’s number is now approximately $95,000. In previous years, the Coop has run a modest weekly profit.

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