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Oct 1, 2006 10:52 PM

PARK SLOPE COOP :: Horror stories of the country’s largest member-owned cooperative

Apparantly there are strong feelings both ways about the CO-OP.

Won't Work for Food
Horror stories of the country’s largest member-owned cooperative grocery store

This story appeared on with some very interesting comments.

Personally, I don't like Politics mixed with my food. I would rather avoid the People's Republic of Park Slope .

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      1. This story wsas posted in, the sister site of Chowhound.

        It is a local story about Brooklyn, where the controversy about the CO-OP has been raging for a long time.

        It is basically about the shopping options for top quality food, produce in particular in an area that is really shopping deprived.

        Since the opening of FAIRWAY in Red Hood, the CO-OP has lost many members. FAIRWAY is a beautiful Supermarket with great produce at low prices, offering things that the "shopping by political correctness" CO-OP does not offer, like accepting Credit Cards and parking.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Fleur

          many things are great about fariway but the produce is subpar at best.

        2. You said it JonL, thanks!

          And Fleur, I don't think you know what you are talking about. For starters, Park Slope is hardly "really shopping deprived" as you write. Conventional grocery and food specialty stores have gotten quite good around here, although of course they are wildly expensive compared to the Coop, which is a cooperative buyers club and not a commercial venture.

          The PSFC has a healthy abundant membership of close to 13,000 people. It's not the setup for everybody, and it never has been, but that's an awful lot of happy participants getting the best groceries around (direct from the farm where possible) at astonishingly good prices. But you have to have a couple hours to contribute to the community every month.

          Everything is fresh, including dried goods and frozen, since the whole store turns over inventory once a week. It's consistently rated one of the cleanest grocery stores in NYC, and never has that creepy grocery smell. I've been a member for about 12 years and I eat and cook better as a result. And I smell good, too since the upscale toiletries are there for about half the price you'd pay at Fairway... : )

          It's sport for freelance writers to rip on the Coop. That's the Food Media angle.
          These articles are inevitably rife with in accuracies, petty exaggerations, absurd Stalin references and clueless "ooooo LOOK! Cooties!" more often seen in bad exotic travel writing.

          Dozens (not a large % ) have flown the Coop for Fairway, and that's no problem. Fairway is a better option if a parking lot is a top priority -- although the Coop has long had a deal with an indoor lot on the same block for $4 parking for members. The membership is so huge that there's enough labor to have walkers take you home or to your car, and roll the cart back to the store for you.
          For the kind of person who needs to pitch a fit because there's not a place for her SUV at the door, well . . . the Coop is not the place for her.

          The "controversy" is nonsense.

          1 Reply
          1. Fleur - "supermarket deprived"? As a long time resident of Carrol Garden's, with numerous friends in the Slope, I can say that this is quite the exaggeration. Although driving to a mega-supermarket in the Hook is right for many, there are plenty of places to go for great foods - even the occassional supermarket (the Key Food on Atlantic and Clinton and the C-Town on 9th Street spring quickly to mind)!

            But isn't the fun of living in Brooklyn going to the great smaller stores for their specialty items? Not only are we lucky enough to have access to great fish, breads, meat and produce, but we are supporting local business owners in a community fast being over run by large chains (sorry, my politics are showing ;) ).

            My favorites:

            Espositos Pork store on Court (President&Union). Great pork products from the old school - George makes his own Sopressata and his sausages are beautiful! This is in addtion to great Italian foods like fresh Mozz, great olives, fresh roasted peppers, etc. And their other meats like steaks, free range chickens and veal are available at very reasonable prices. Try getting that custom cut 2" rib eye at the supermarket . . .

            Staubitz is also good - but a little pricier - on Court in Cobble Hill, with an ever expanding cheese expertise.

            Carrol Gardens Fish Market (Court by President) is under new management and has very good quality at reasonable prices.

            Produce can be had at the always bustling store on Court by Pacific St and at a friendly store on 7th Ave. by 12th street.

            And the numerous new artisanal meat and cheese stores popping up can easily cater to any craving. Tuller & Tuller in Cobble Hill, Union Market and Blue Apron (no relation to the red apron!) in the Slope are fun places to shop or simply browse.

            The amazing BierKraft on 5th Ave. is not to be missed. With their friendly beer fanatic owners and their dediction to great meats and cheeses, one might even call it the perfect store!

            Bottom line: if you are not into the co-op, don't join. We have too many other choices to enjoy at numerous price/quality levels to get heated up over the practices of a single co-op.

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