A Brief History of Flatbush Food Co-op
Co-op initiated as Tenth Street Co-op in Midwood by a group of 11 community minded individuals, concerned about the environment and interested in organic food.
The Co-op operated as a buying club, which initially met monthly to pre-order dry goods. As interest grew, these orders were supplemented with weekly distribution of organic fruits and vegetables. All members volunteered time, and goods were distributed from the basement of a residential home. Within two years, the Co-op had 100 members and began to retain a small inventory, which was accumulated by charging a small mark-up on pre-ordered goods.
Members secured a vacant, 700 square foot store on East 16th Street near the Avenue H train station and the co-op opened as 16th Street Co-op.
Barry Smith, one of volunteer managers and original founding members, hired as first paid General Manager. Co-op incorporated and expanded to three paid staff.
At Co-op’s first retreat, Board of Directors established to facilitate more efficient governance. Co-op opened for first time to non-member shoppers.
Co-op moved to 1318 Cortelyou Road, a 2,100 square foot storefront on Cortelyou Road, and changed its name to Flatbush Food Co-op.
During our 23 years at this location, the Co-op’s membership grew from 300 to more than 3,000, our staff from five to 25, and sales grew tenfold. After a decade at this site, it had become clear that we had outgrown the space, and we spent many years trying to expand to a larger or second location.
On April 17, 2008, after almost two years of negotiations followed by extensive renovations, the Co-op opened for business at 1415 Cortelyou Road, a building diagonally across the street from the previous location with three times the retail space.
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