Phew! Forgive me while I catch my breath before I extend greetings from the Membership Department! I have been lying low for some months now; haven’t written a column in a while. I can’t say that I’ve had my feet up all of this time, though. On the contrary, Membership is booming!
The big news is that Membership is very, very busy with what could accurately be described as a deluge of new members. It has been an intense but exhilarating time for Weavers Way. We have welcomed more than 100 new households every month since January. In August alone, 203 households joined.
That has not happened since we opened in Chestnut Hill seven years ago. Consequently, we are officially approaching 7,500 member households!
This is an unbelievably satisfying and validating turn of events. More and more people are standing up and affirming the cooperative movement as well as our Ends. As a result, our vibrant community expands and strengthens for the benefit of all.
This is especially true of the newest part of our community, in and around Ambler. It is hard to believe that we are about to open the doors of our third store. The excitement is palpable. Every day, I have the pleasure of interacting with new members in Ambler. It often gives me a chill — no kidding — to think about how hard the people who founded the Ambler Food Co-op have worked to bring this day to fruition. AFC's founding members exemplify the cooperative model. Their needs were not being met within the structures that already existed to meet such needs, so they said, heck with this! We’re gonna do it ourselves! And so they have.
Along with welcoming hundreds of new members, my colleagues and I have spent a great deal of time hosting orientations — three times each month, two in Ambler. I have met so many new members and it never ceases to inspire me to hear their stories and experience how Weavers Way meets their needs. I look forward to meeting many more of you in the months to come.
I’d like to sum it all up like this: On a warm evening in mid-August, as I stood watching members stream into our temporary office space on Butler Avenue and witnessed a line stretching out the door, I marveled and said to myself, “Boy! Ambler sure does show up!” Fifty nine members came out for that meeting in August.
I now know this to be true: Ambler shows up. It is this fact that leaves me with extraordinary confidence that Weavers Way is exactly where we are supposed to be. Ambler members are going to own it as we all own it. It is our store and, together, we are going to continue to grow this wonderfully alternative, reassuringly democratic, exquisitely quirky, delightfully counterculture entity that is our Co-op.