Weavers Way has been in the process of opening a new store in Germantown. There have been big renovations at the new location, on the corner of Chelten Avenue and Morris Street (328 W. Chelten Ave.), which used to be an old ACME Market and will have a small parking lot on the side. And now, at the end of 2023, the opening is very near. 

Currently, they plan on a March 2024 opening and some kind of grand opening, with plans still to be determined. 

It made sense for the cooperative grocery store to open its fourth location in Germantown, where over 1,000 members live. Still, some neighbors wondered if Weavers Way would prioritize community engagement and integration into the neighborhood as they expanded.

The store hired Germantown neighbor Camille Poinvil as the Community Outreach Coordinator for Weavers Way Germantown to help lead the process. She’s now their membership coordinator and has focused on food security and accessibility issues for most of her adult life.

Along with a Weavers Way Germantown outreach committee, she has been busy this year, creating and hosting programming in the outreach office right next to the new Germantown location, tabling at community events, and hosting meet-and-greets. 

They’ve also provided cooperators (Weavers Way co-op members who work hours as part of their membership) to do community work in Germantown. They’ve partnered with Philly Herb Hub, with cooperators packing herbs and tinctures for them, cooperators helping with gardens around Maplewood Mall in conjunction with Germantown United CDC, and other members doing volunteer shifts at the Kelly School library and garden (if they have their FBI and Child Abuse clearances). 

Desiree Thompson, an organizer of the Philly Herb Hub and Germantown United CDC’s office manager, said Poinvil was key in helping the Herb Hub survive when they needed support the most. 

“Weaver’s Way is so great for assisting and helping folks, especially local folks, be able to keep up their good work, and especially if it’s community-engaged work. And she essentially set me up with four shifts between three to four people each shift twice a month,” said Thompson. 

But Thompson said Weavers Way definitely needs to listen and let the community and Poinvil’s outreach leadership take priority. “I really want them to support her and let her kind of lead in trying to be attentive to what folks in the neighborhood are asking and for the type of accountability that I know Germantown folks deserve and will demand,” said Thompson.

Accountability to Thompson looks like making sure the store listens to their Black and brown employees and the majority Black Germantown neighborhood and working hard to let folks know about their Food for All program (that gives a 15% discount to almost everything in the store if you currently receive food stamps (SNAP), Medicaid, TANF—Cash Assistance, WIC, SSDI, SSI or Military Disability), and the other benefits that Weavers Way membership has to offer. 

Poinvil and the Weavers Way team have been using the Weavers Way Outreach office space to provide a physical location for Germantown community organizers and leaders to connect and for the store to hear feedback from neighbors in general. They’ve also been receiving feedback at their different meet-and-greets throughout the neighborhood. 

The meet-and-greet hosted at Four Freedoms House of Philadelphia, an apartment complex for seniors over 65 years old, was one of Poinvil’s favorites throughout the year. They got a lot of questions and a lot of engagement around the new location. They also had meet-and-greets in people’s homes and even some community gardens.

The Community Baby Item Drive was another event Poinvil thought went well throughout the year. Weavers Way partnered with multiple organizations to provide clothing, diapers, and other resources for new parents who came to the office and could give away extra baby items to organizations after the event. Tabling at ENON Tabernacle’s Senior Health Fair also connected them with many people, and there was a lot of energy around the discussion of the new store. 

Other workshops they’ve hosted in the outreach office this year have been on buying your home in ten steps, financial literacy, candle making, and dyeing fabrics with invasive plants. Sometimes, Poinvil connects with co-op members who have been shopping at Weavers Way for years and want to do a workshop on a specific topic. Other times, it’s just about running into people around the neighborhood and talking to them about what they do, which starts the connection. 

As they get ready to stock the shelves of the new Germantown location, they’ve been reaching out with a product preference survey during all their outreach activities to get feedback from neighbors about what groceries and other items they would like to see the new store carry. 

Poinvil said the main two questions they’ve been getting about the new store are employment and when they are opening.

“A lot of the painting has been done, a lot of the produce, chillers, and dairy fridges are all in place. They’ve been able to restore a lot of the original terrazzo flooring from back when it was an ACME, which is nice. The external painting is done, and all the external paint is done. The roof is done,” said Poinvil. She said they’re waiting on some key components being delivered, but they will be done after that process is in place. 

To learn more about Weavers Way and the new Germantown location, you can follow their updates on their website.