SHARE asks city to support cooperative grocery store

SHARE Cooperative of Winston-Salem is asking the city to fund a feasibility study to explore putting a co-op grocery store in this vacant spot at West Salem Shopping Center on Peters Creek Parkway.

SHARE asks city to support cooperative grocery store
February 02
07:30 2017

Photo by Todd Luck



SHARE Cooperative of Winston-Salem is asking the city to fund a feasibility study on opening a co-op grocery store on Peters Creek Parkway.

SHARE (Supplying Honest and Respectful Engagement), which is an initiative of Freedom Tree at IDR (Institute for Dismantling Racism), is hoping to open a co-op grocery store in a food desert, which is an area where fresh, healthy food isn’t available.

SHARE Project Manager Gary Williams told the city finance committee last month that the store will serve “fresh, nourishing foods at a reasonable price.” People will be able to buy memberships that will give them a vote in how the store is run and profits will be reinvested in the community. The group is currently negotiating for a vacant space at West Salem Shopping Center, which has previously housed International Food Market and Food Lion.

“We’re excited about SHARE because we know it fits a need,” said Williams.

SHARE is asking for$21,800 from the city, with $7,500 going to hire Dakota Worldwide to do a feasibility study and the rest going to consulting services from CDS Consulting Co-op. City staff recommends that the money come from excess tax revenue from sweepstakes parlors, which has been used to fund similar studies, including one by Peter’s Creek Community Initiative on turning the Budget Inn across the street from the co-op store’s potential location into workforce housing.

SHARE was one of several nonprofits that unsuccessfully requested money in the city’s current budget. The previous request was $116,725.

This time, however, several council members have expressed support and the item is schedule to come back to committee this month and then possibly on to the full council for approval. City Council Member Derwin Montgomery thought it would be a good use of city money.

“There is a need in this community to fill the vacuum where we have food deserts in our community,” he said.

Council Member Denise ”D.D.” Adams also said she supported it, but hoped to see results from the project.

“Taxpayers are looking for early results and early successes,” she said.

Jeff MacIntosh and Robert Clark were concerned about the project’s viability and wanted to see more information before voting. John Larson, who represents the South Ward, which contains the location SHARE is planning to put its co-op store, said he supported getting more information, but hoped the project doesn’t get “stalled down” and praised the co-op for its initiative in addressing food deserts.

SHARE is also seeking funds from the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust and Winston-Salem Foundation to cover things like administrative costs. It’s also consulted with other co-op grocery stores like the Renaissance Community Cooperative, which opened its grocery store in Greensboro last year. The City of Greensboro helped Renaissance get its start with a $250,000 grant.

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Todd Luck

Todd Luck

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