There are some exciting updates on our joint exploratory committee with Honest Weight Food Co-op (HWFC) to consider the viability of establishing a food co-op in downtown Schenectady.
Both Co-op boards have been looking at multiple aspects of this opportunity, including how membership will be defined, site selection and funding, and perhaps most critically, how will a second full-service co-op in Schenectady will benefit Honest Weight.
In looking at whether the project held potential financial benefit for Honest Weight, HWFC’s CFO Erin Martin, interim COO and Director of Operations Stephen Quickenton, and HWFC Treasuer Jack Mahoney have gathered information to create a financial analysis (pro forma) to answer that question.
On March 29, the team presented a pro forma to the HWFC Finance Committee showing the financial benefit of a Schenectady HWFC location. Based on this information, the HWFC Finance Committee unanimously recommended to continue the exploration.
The HWFC Board then reviewed this information at their April 5 Board meeting and voted to recommend the pursuit of this opportunity for a Membership vote.
Over the next 6-8 weeks, HWFC will update and educate their membership on the findings of the pro forma and will hold a meeting in late May to ask their membership whether to continue to pursue this opportunity.
It is anticipated that there will be several touchpoints with our ECFC members along the way as well, including more surveys, and a special membership meeting later this spring to update you on the developments of this exploration, and answer any questions you have.
The affirmative vote from the HWFC board is a positive step in this process and signifies the commitment from both co-op boards to continue this process.
Please stay tuned for information on ECFC member meetings to learn more about the HWFC collaboration, and an announcement about our June annual meeting.
Cooperatives around the world operate according to the same set of core principles and values, adopted by the International Cooperative Alliance. One of these principles is “Cooperation Among Cooperatives,” which states that by working together, cooperatives bolster local economies and effectively innovate to meet social and community needs.
In the spirit of cooperation, Honest Weight Food Co-op and Electric City Food Co-op are excited to announce to our memberships that we have formed a joint exploratory committee on the topic of bringing a food co-op to the food desert in downtown Schenectady.
Many of you will know Honest Weight as the leading food co-op in the capital region. Honest Weight has been successfully operating as a cooperative grocer in Albany for over 45 years, and currently has over 10,000 Owners and nearly 200 employees. In 2013, Honest Weight expanded to their current 30,000 sq. ft. location at 100 Watervliet Ave., in the West Hill Neighborhood of Albany. In 2021, their annual sales were nearly $29 million. The Honest Weight Kitchen also operates satellite locations in the concourse of Empire State Plaza, and a brand-new location open to the public on campus at Maria College.
Electric City Food Co-op has been working since 2013 to bring a new cooperative market to Schenectady featuring local, organic, and sustainably produced natural foods, supporting the regional economy and farmers, and creating a local food revolution. With 435 Member-Owners and counting, Schenectady area residents have shown that there is both an interest and a need for a cooperative grocer in this community. Building a partnership with Honest Weight will allow both food co-ops to explore the possibilities of working together to bring a member-owned food store to Schenectady. The exploratory committee will meet over the course of the next 2-3 months.
Solving the food desert in Schenectady is a regional priority, and one that is shared by both Electric City and Honest Weight. It is a conversation that we are incredibly excited to be a part of. We know that you will have questions about how this impacts your membership. We will be focusing on what this means for the operation of, and memberships of, both cooperatives during the exploratory process. We are committed to providing information in multiple formats, including informational sessions, email updates, and tabling events as conditions allow in the coming weeks and months. We welcome your questions, and we are committed to keeping our membership updated on progress and next steps. Please send your questions to us at email@example.com.
Electric City Food Co-op Board of Directors
Honest Weight Food Co-op Board of Directors & Management Team