After being closed for nearly three months of renovations, Weavers Way’s Mt. Airy grocery store has finally reopened.
The cooperative, located at 559 Carpenter Lane, was closed for nine and a half weeks during the renovations. The closure, Glenn Bergman said back in July, was almost unheard of in the cooperative community. But it was the first renovation to the Mt. Airy store in over 20 years.
The updates included a new floor and subfloor, new light fixtures, new refrigeration units and various layout changes.
Although the cooperative opened yesterday, spokesman Jon McGoran says shoppers should look at this more like a soft opening. The cooperative won’t be pushing for new members or publicizing the reopening until Sept 29.
McGoran says the renovations added 10 permanent, paid positions at the co-op, as well as the largest known bulk department in the city. One dedicated customer, he said, counted 192 bulk items at the Callowhill Street Whole Foods. Weavers Way has 430 bulk items, but will be adding more.
Mt. Airy store is busy
While some of the shelves, particularly those in the bulk department, remain unstocked, Weavers Way employee Jonathan Leeds says there’s a constant flow of shoppers.
“It’s been very busy,” he said. “I couldn’t even estimate because it’s been so busy. We’ve been open since Sunday morning and it’s been packed with people.”
Leeds says several shoppers have been impressed with what they’ve seen.
“Everybody walks in and stops for a moment and their eyes widen,” he said. “They’re amazed, usually.”
Claudia Raab, a Weavers Way member of 30 years, is one of those amazed shoppers. She says the bulk department is “too good for her.”
“You bring your own bottles. That’s the thing I really love about this bulk section,” she said. “I hate wasting plastic and glass.”
Raab says she also thinks the co-op is more spacious and organized.
“It’s easier to navigate and I’m not bumping into anybody,” she said. “This place, I [used to] call it the human pinball machine.”
When the cooperative was closed, Raab says she drove to the Chestnut Hill store.
Sandra Rodriguez says she’s also impressed with the new store. Her favorite addition is shopping carts so she can more easily bring her infant son shopping with her.
She also says the store is more organized and spacious.
“I think it’s going to take a little bit of time to get acclimated with where things are,” she said. “But once I find where things are I think it’s going to be way easier.”
Rodriguez says while the store was closed she shopped at other supermarkets.
Member Marcy Boroff, who shopped at the pop-up store and went to the Chestnut Hill store twice during the Mt. Airy store’s closure, shouted “I love it” when asked her thoughts on the new store.
“It was perfectly adequate before but it needed to be updated,” she said. “It’s probably going to be much easier to do your co-op hours now. It’s cleaner and it’s an easier floor to clean. “
Weavers Way will have a member appreciation day on Sept 29, with an additional 5 percent discount for members. McGoran said the co-op will also start promoting the Mt. Airy food co-op and try to expand its membership base.