Grocery Store Many In Kensington Rely On For Healthy Food In Danger Of Closing

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A place many families rely on for healthy groceries is in danger of closing — just eight months after it opened up to the delight of one Philadelphia neighborhood. The Kensington Community Food Co-op is in one of the city’s most underprivileged neighborhoods and it’s struggling to stay afloat.

A 1-and-a-half-year-old boy chomping down on a red pepper should speak to the quality of locally grown produce inside the Kensington Community Food Co-Op.

“Part of it is the convenience,” Co-op member JC Vonholtz said. “It’s right down the street so it’s a two-minute walk for us. Part of it is the quality of the food is really, really good.”

The Vonholtz family just became Co-op members and by doing that, they’ve helped to keep the grocery store open.

But there is one problem.

“The Co-op struggle like a lot of retail businesses struggle,” Kensington Community Food Co-Op General Manager Mike Richards said. “Just competing with other folks.”

Richards says the $2 million Co-op needs cash. The Co-op raised $20,000 to keep its doors open for this month, but it needs an additional $20,000 by the end of January.

On Wednesday night, a state of the Co-op meeting was held to find out how the business will stay afloat.

“These milestone payments are scheduled from when we had debts coming due that are related to construction and equipment,” board member Oren Roth-Eisenberg said.

Roth-Eisenberg says these were expenses that they knew of, but leaders used most of the cash just to get the doors of the Co-op open after 11 years.

And they’re fighting to make sure it has a stable future.

“We need a little more time to be able to prove our value and commitment to our neighbors to make this space really the best it can be as a grocery store, as a bar, as an event space for the entire community,” Roth-Eisenberg said.

Anyone can become a member of the Co-op. Members get 5% off every purchase by paying a one-time lifetime membership fee for the entire family at $200.