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What’s weird about these pictures?

Posted on by Lena
Ann Herpel and Lewanika Forde-Senghor from Park Slope Food Coop deliver electronic scales and thermal printers to Valley Co-op

Ann Herpel and Lewanika Forde-Senghor from Park Slope Food Coop deliver electronic scales and thermal printers to Valley Co-op

Picture 1:  A health food store in Brooklyn, NY with 16,000 owners upgrades its store equipment. Instead of selling the old equipment (perfectly functional, not obsolete) for several hundred dollars, the store donates 4 electronic scales and 4 checkout thermal printers, free of charge, to Valley Co-op in Hagerstown. Their general manager, Joe Holtz, wrote to us, “Great that you can use the scales! I also want to give you some printers, can you use them?”

So, three weeks ago when I drove to NY for personal reasons I detoured to Brooklyn, picked up the equipment, and in addition was treated to a 2.5 hour tour of the premises with all my questions answered (more to follow about that). Thanks to Park Slope, soon we’ll be able to print a receipt listing all your basket items when you check out.

Michael Healy training Common Market 2014 DSC03611

Cooperatives consultant Michael Healy with Valley Co-op attendees Lena Rotenberg, Store Managers Susan Simonson and Shawn Bryce, Eva Lewis, Cori Rohrer, BoD president Rita Bratcher, Joan Erdersky, Katherine Ecker, BoD secretary Emily Sklencar, and Julie Richards.

Picture 2:  A health food store in Frederick, MD, with 4,500 owners, brings in an expert consultant from Vermont to train their Board of Directors for a whole Saturday. They ask Valley Co-op, “Hey, how about your leaders meet with our consultant on Sunday, November 9, before he heads back to Vermont?  We’ll cover his fees and you can use our Community Room free of charge.

But wait, you say. “Couldn’t these two stores be seen as our competitors? Why are they helping us?”

Or, you may have wondered, “How can a store have thousands of owners?”

Easy! Like us, the two businesses that generously helped us are also cooperatives — autonomous associations of persons who jointly own, and democratically control, their businesses. The first is Park Slope Food Coop, and the second is The Common Market.

Valley Co-op — and another 800 million cooperatives around the world — subscribe to the same 7 principles, which you can see on our website and which will soon be prominently displayed in our store on a poster.

Cooperation among cooperatives is the 6th Principle we all follow. This past month we have been the recipient of the generosity of two cooperatives. And, in the same spirit, we’re about to start mentoring a new food co-op in Lovettsville, VA.

Valley Co-op is far more than a storefront. We’re a community of 500+ members that is part of a larger worldwide community. What a privilege to be thankful for!

Learn more about cooperatives by checking out the International Cooperative Alliance website,

Last but not least, THANKS!! to Park Slope Food Co-op and The Common Market!

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    as of 1/19/19


    Total Number of Member Households: 177