Greene Hill Co-op Approves Putnam Lease

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At last night’s general meeting, members of the Greene Hill Food Co-op voted 29-0 to approve the terms of the lease at 18-24 Putnam Avenue. A similar vote in favor of the location itself had been cast last month, which gave the lease committee the authority to negotiate terms with the landlord. We don’t know what the specific terms are, but the word is that the landlord is being generous. According to an email we saw last night, getting the lease signed could still take “a few weeks,” but in the meantime Co-op members will be setting up tables in the neighborhood and even knocking on doors. If you’d like to join, the sooner you can, the better. You can sign up here.
Food Co-op’ers Back Putnam Location [Brownstoner]
Food Co-op May Lease Space on Putnam [Brownstoner]

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  • delepp

    Why is it called Greene Hill when it’s two blocks from BedStuy?

  • italiana71

    Congrats to them! I hope the Bay Ridge Food Co-op gets lucky with real estate too. It will be nice to have more than one co-op in Brooklyn.

  • The name was decided well over a year ago, before any location was in consideration.

  • delepp

    Good luck to them, that strech could use some foot traffic.

  • wasder

    In re the name yes it was picked well in advance of the site. While it is only a few blocks from the border of Bed Stuy it is only a few more blocks to the border of Fort Greene as well, Clinton Hill being as skinny as it is east to west. Regardless of the name, this will be a tremendous asset to the entire community in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill and Bed Stuy. I am so pleased that a half block of unused commercial space is going to be converted into this Co-op, and in a location that many had written off as blighted. There is suddenly a lot of action in that wedge between Putnam, Fulton, Downing and Grand.

  • Yes this is a wonderful occurance. It makes me want to buy a nice grocery cart : )

  • donatella

    I am completely delighted with this. I think that it will be a great boost to the neighborhood and get people shopping near home. For me, it will be a great thing to be able to buy these things walking distance. It is part of the greater pattern of filling in the retail services in the Eastern Fort Greene/Clinton Hill / Fulton St. stretch.

  • brooklynbemused

    Giddy with excitement!
    Does anyone know how long it takes to get one of these things up and running though? I’d love a sense of when it’s actually going to open.

  • Good question! My guess is at least a year til it’s up and running. Someone correct me, I am just a Hill Person.

    That wedge near where Brownstoner lives is suddenly full of cool stuff. Seems the creperie is close to opening too.

  • wasder

    We should all join now to give them an investment cushion. Would no doubt speed the opening.

  • Great news for the area but I’m going to pass because of the ridiculous work requirement.

  • We are assuming it will take quite a while to raise all the money we need to fully renovate the store, probably at least a year to open the doors, so wasder is correct. Please join now to help speed up the fundraising process! Not only does it help increase funds, but it shows support which will help us look more attractive to investors and potential grants. Waiting until the store opens to join will only lengthen the process.

    And for the work requirement, I’m willing to trade off ~3hr/mo in exchange for good cheap produce, something that is lacking in this area at any price, but that’s just me and the coop structure isn’t for everyone. For those who don’t want to join because of the work requirement for other reasons, but want to see the business here, we will still welcome your support!

    Dahlia
    Co-chair of the Greene Hill Food Coop Lease/Location Committee

  • The fact is that the work requirement places an unfair tax on those who already work onerous hours or those who are highly compensated for their time. I really haven’t heard a good reason why you should not be able to buy out of it other than the fact that it offends some militant leftists.

  • Great news, it will provide a boost to this area, let’s hope we get a resturant to this area, it will go well with Michael Allen bakery. there’s few vacant stores on this block.

  • Regarding the pay your way out issue: we thought about it over a year ago, but agreed on a working only coop because we didn’t want to create a class system where people who could afford it didn’t have to work, and those who can’t afford it (and may have to work multiple jobs just to make ends meet) would be left doing the work.

    Also, coops that people can pay instead of working tend to not have particularly good prices (see Flatbush Coop on Cortelyou as an example). If you think about your 3 hrs a month in terms of a minimum wage worker, that $21.75/month or $261 a year, not including the overhead expenses for that worker such as benefits and taxes. That’s much more than most people are willing to spend per year for the coop membership, even though their time might be valued more highly at their day job. Not that these numbers ever came up at a meeting, but it just drives home why working coops are able to offer the best prices.

  • So instead you simply created a class system that favors people that have tons of free time on their hands. Why would you not offer the option to buy out at whatever price the cost would be to hire someone. If people are willing to pay they will if not you don’t lose anything. There are folks that hang out at Home Depot hiring themselves out as laborers. Why not let me create a job for someone else if I prefer not to work at the coop?

  • This argument has come up in pretty much every Park Slope Co-op discussion and I’ve never understood it. “the work requirement places an unfair tax on those who already work onerous hours or those who are highly compensated for their time.” Would you be losing out on billable hours when you are working here? Doubt it. By that reasoning, you are throwing away one third of your potential income when you are asleep.

    Plus if you’re so highly compensated and your time is so valuable that you could hire someone else to work your hours or just buy your way out of it, why even shop at a place like this? Go to an expensive store, you can afford it. Or get Fresh Direct if you’re so busy.

  • TD you didn’t refute any of my arguments.

    Maybe I would not be losing billable hours but would like to spend the time with my family or doing something else. What it comes down to is that there really is no rational reason. Its simply a group of people that just prefers something to be done their way. Nothing wrong with that but don’t pretend its anything else.

    You don’t want me to shop at the coop because I highly value my time and/or can afford to pay someone to work it for me? Sounds like classism to me.

    Again why wouldn’t you want me to create a job for someone who wants to work?

  • I have no problem with your arguments and have no need to refute them. To me, if I don’t like the way a business is run I’ll simply not patronize that business. Why bother arguing against it? Or, if you had such strong opinions and really wanted to be a part of this new endeavor you would have attended the meetings.

  • The coop isn’t trying to encourage people who aren’t interested in being part of a community organization to join. To echo TD, just don’t join. Don’t see anything classist about requiring the work. Park Slope has plenty of members who can afford to pay more and chose to give up their time to shop there (including me). And not that I’m advocating this, but I have heard rumors that in the past, people at Park Slope paid other members to work their shifts, so if you really want to join the coop for some reason, despite not liking their communal values, go that route.

  • Location is a shame. They should remove “Greene” from their name. Hopefully someone else will open a Fort Greene food coop, because this one is useless.

  • Sure, maybe they’ll open a coop more central to Fort Greene residents — how about on Dekalb, right next to Roman’s? Would that work? In a nice big supermarket-sized space with cheap rent right there in the heart of Ft Greene.

    Be realistic. You lay down your roots, follow your vision, and watch things grow around you.

  • As someone who lives at Downing and Putnam, this will be a welcome change. I know some are disappointed that its not located in Fort Greene but there are so many shopping options for fresh fruits and vegetables in Fort Greene already. Clinton Hill is barren in that respect along with Bed Stuy. It will be nice to actually buy edible food in my neighborhood instead of having to walk to Fort Greene for food.

    My only sadness is that it might change my neighborhood – although many of you think of that stretch as a blight its one of the friendliest blocks I’ve ever lived on. With more people coming around its definitley going to change the dynamics of that area and make it much more noisier. Keeping my fingers crossed it doesn’t become too gentrified.

  • @eh: I think you’re missing the point a little bit. It’s a Food *Co-op*, not a Gourmet Grocery. The work requirement is sort of the point of the whole thing. Because the employees are are the owners and the customers, and likely members of local communities, they have an incentive to make the co-op a great place, and not just because it benefits them, but because it benefits their co-workers and community at large. The impact of personally knowing the other members, knowing how the co-op operates, etc. might be intangible, but it’s no doubt substantial.

    To say that a mere 3 hours (THREE hours!) a month is a waste of your time, and that you’d rather pay out of the obligation, shows that you don’t fully grasp the value of the food co-op. Sorry to get all Jack Kennedy on you, but It’s not about what the 3 hours is worth to you, it’s what the 3 hours are worth to the co-op and to the community (hint: more than the $25 that someone else might be paid to work those three hours).

  • irisjones said: “With more people coming around its definitley going to change the dynamics of that area and make it much more noisier. Keeping my fingers crossed it doesn’t become too gentrified.”

    Noisier? Are you kidding me? With club insomnia on fulton and the hooligans hanging out until all hours of the morning at the lefferts apt complex, it’s noisy enough as it is.

    And yeah, gentrification would be a real downer. I hope the area stays a warzone with empty store fronts, drug dealers, prostitutes, and junkies… who in the hell wants a clean, safe neighborhood with ammenities to live in???!!