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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Jim Thompson

By Thomas Rayfiel

Jim Thompson, whose membership in the Coop spanned five decades, died May 17 due to complications from the coronavirus and kidney failure. He was 75. Jim spent almost his entire professional career in the Fort Greene Housing Projects (the Walt Whitman Houses), working first as an assistant teacher, then for a drug intervention program, and as a counselor for at-risk elementary-school-age children. He also volunteered for early morning breakfast programs and a weekend basketball organization which emphasized leadership and team-building. A true community activist, Jim served on the District 13 school board as well as Fort Greene Council Inc., an organization dedicated to serving seniors, children, and enriching the lives of families living throughout the neighborhood. 


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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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Discussion Item at July General Meeting to Increase Coop Mark-up from 21 to 25%

In March, the Park Slope Food Coop took the unprecedented measure of suspending member labor in response to COVID-19. We hired members to work as temporary staff, narrowed our hours of operation, constrained the number of shoppers allowed in the store, and implemented other safety measures. As a result, we have been able to mitigate risks to both staff and shopping members.

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Faster Coop Votes

I’m gonna keep shopping at the Coop because the groceries are great but our collective core is taking a bad hit if the June GM is any indication. The agenda item to make a public statement of support for the movement for Black Lives should have been voted on, and not stalled via process designating it a discussion-only topic. This is not a new problem.

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Pain to Save the Coop

Coordinators and some members have now suggested that member labor could indeed safely resume, something which would benefit the bottom line of the Coop. This is significant because the Coop is still losing money every week the pandemic, which shows no sign of abating, continues.

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