Great news, lovers of community-owned, -sourced, and -supported businesses: Weaver Street Market
, the largest food co-op in the Southeast, is coming to the Warehouse District in downtown Raleigh.
This will be the market's fourth store, and its first in Raleigh. Set to open in late summer 2018 in The Dillon building, the Raleigh location will offer much of what Weaver Street has become known and loved for since its founding thirty years ago in Carrboro: local produce, a kitchen and bakery with a hot bar and a salad bar, an event space for cooking demos and community events, and coffee, beer and wine.
It’ll do so in swanky new digs, too, with outdoor dining that includes a sidewalk, a mezzanine that wraps around the store, and a balcony overlooking Hargett Street, according to a press release
While you don’t have to be a member of the co-op to shop at Weaver Street, for the one-time fee of $75 for a one-adult household, owner benefits
include owners-only coupons and specials, a vote for the board of directors, and access to volunteer opportunities. In the coming year, Weaver Street plans to reduce the owner price to $75 for all households.
Several hundred of its 20,000 current owners already live in Raleigh, and that number is sure to grow now that citizens won’t have to drive forty minutes to get their locally sourced groceries out in Carrboro, Chapel Hill, or Hillsborough. This is good news for those who already love Weaver Street’s mission of building a healthy, sustainable, charitable community.
According to Weaver Street Market’s 2017 annual report
, all of its employees earn above the living wage in Orange County, and 217 out of its 250 employees are also owners. They’ve purchased $19 million worth of locally and co-op-produced products, donated 162,000 pounds of food this year, and contributed $265,000
to food partners and nonprofits focused on addressing food insecurity and other community needs. And that's exciting, given that, since 2010, North Carolina has ranked among the nation's top ten food- insecure states and is home to several of the nation’s most food-insecure cities, according to the North Carolina Association of Feeding America Food Banks.
Across the state, 1,764,800 people are food insecure; in Wake County alone, that number is 131,800, putting food insecurity at 13.8 percent
. In a city teeming with new restaurants and less-than-affordable meal options, Weaver Street Market seems to be a welcome addition to the downtown demographic.
Each Weaver Street outpost tends to reflect its locale. (Hula hoops and drum circles in Carrboro, anyone?) So it should be interesting to see how the Raleigh spot shapes up, since this hyper-local market will be neighbors with its actual antithesis, a corporate company with more than 200 stores nationwide, and the first national retailer to announce that its making a move to the Warehouse District: Urban Outfitters.