East End Food Co-op Celebrates Final Week on Commercial Drive
The community-owned grocery store will be closing on May 15
Vancouver, BC — [May 9, 2022] At a meeting of members last month, the Board at the East End Food Co-op announced the closure of the member-owned storefront on Commercial Drive in East Vancouver. The store, which was founded in 1975, has been seeing declining sales over the last decade and the pandemic of the last two years brought additional volatility which has worsened the Co-op’s position. Despite many efforts to bring the operation to financial health, the challenges have been difficult to overcome. The store’s lease is now up for renewal and the Board has determined that the time has come to close.
“Deciding to close the store was an exceptionally difficult decision to have to make. Our Co-op store was born out of the effort and investment of people in our community, and we have survived almost 50 years thanks to the support and commitment of our workers and members,” says Board Chair Chris Galloway. “The Board explored every option for keeping the store open, but considering that our lease is up in June, we simply ran out of time. We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of our staff, past and present - and for our members who brought their co-op vision to life and have sustained our community-owned enterprise through the years.”
The East End Food Co-op (EEFC) has been part of the East Vancouver community since the early 1970’s and began as a buying club supplying local families and neighbours with locally produced and organic health food products. Initially, the Co-op operated entirely on volunteer labour and was only open a few days a week, but it didn't take long before they outgrew this model and needed to form a different kind of business. This is when the Co-op officially opened its first storefront with 240 member households. There were several food co-ops founded in Vancouver in the 20th century including Kitsilano Co-op, Golden Harvest Co-op and Eat Me Co-op. The East End Food Co-op is the last of Vancouver’s food co-ops to close its doors. From being among the first stores to bring organic and bulk food to market in Vancouver (decades before today’s competition), to being among the first stores to stop offering customers plastic bags, East End Food Co-op has been an innovating force in Vancouver’s food system.
“Having to close the store is a difficult and emotional decision, but our cooperative community can be proud of all that we have accomplished,” reflects Chris Galloway. “We are proud of our legacy of providing jobs, supporting new businesses, and strengthening our local food economy while bringing innovative values and unique and healthy food to our members.”
The Co-op store’s final day will be Sunday, May 15 2022. All inventory must go, and there are discounts on merchandise throughout the store. Members also get 10% off everything through closing day.
The Co-op invites all members and neighbours for a community celebration on Saturday, May 14, 2022. Co-op members are invited to bring their co-op memories and memorabilia to share and everyone who spends $25 or more can enjoy a free hotdog (or veggie dog). Saturday, May 14, 11am to 3pm (or while supplies last).
Susanna Collins [email protected]