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Featured articles, updates and news from your Silver City Food Co-op.

Thank you for 40 years of your support!

Our Co-op was one of many begun in the 1970’s that gave birth to and nurtured the market for natural foods. SCFC traces its roots to 1974 when a small group of pioneering locals (many of whom still inhabit the area) joined together as a members-only buying club to purchase affordable whole foods. Whole wheat flour, a variety of grains, and tubs of honey were among the first foods delivered in bulk quantities by a mix of trucking collectives out of Tucson. The buying club operated out of Beth Menczer’s checkbook and orders were split up at the “store,” which was actually the back porch of Susan and David Berry’s residence, an elegant structure built by one-time chairman of the Grant County commission, Isaac Cohen, in 1882. During open hours, the co-op was manned, or womanned, by two volunteers, and the entire operation was run by committee. There were open-the-store, pick-up-the-money, ordering, inventory, and physical plant committees. There was even, at one point, a mouse committee which was comprised of David Berry and his cat!
In 1976 the first paid coordinator was hired at $2.36 per hour for 16 hours a week. Although trucking problems developed, various enterprising and energetic folk, like Jerry Matthews (still a frequent shopper at SCFC) made the Tucson run in their own vehicles. In that same year, the co-op started Silver City’s first recycling center on the Texas side of the store. Recyclables were taken to Tucson when the food order was picked up. All these years later, Susan Berry says that she and David still find remnants of glass from the center.
By 1977 the co-op had moved to a storefront at 108 East Broadway, open to members and non-members alike. Jim Goodkind was manager at that time and deliveries were coming from Tucson every four weeks. The bulk bin system, designed by Jack Brennan and Tom Mershon, featured five-gallon metal buckets with self-closing lids.
Business was thriving, the Tucson truck was now delivering every two weeks and, in 1979, local attorney David Lane processed the paperwork necessary to allow us to function as a non-profit organization. After years of dedication, Jim Goodkind resigned as manager and the co-op went through a series of co-managers during the next year and a half. The early ‘80s were a turbulent time for the co-op. Some workers were dedicated to the cause but there was far more work than people to do it. There were cash flow problems, too many empty shelves, and ongoing financial challenges. Ed Anthes (manager for five years) and Pamela Patrick, who managed with energy and devotion for a total of 15 years, helped bring the co-op through and out of this difficult time.
In 1985, while business revitalized and sales continued to rise, the co-op moved to our current location at 520 N. Bullard Street and four years later the Silver City Food Co-op purchased the building. In the early ‘90’s, many necessary repairs and upgrades were completed on the structure. The kitchen was completed by the end of 1992 and soon a big push was on to get more produce into the store, resulting in the wonderful array of fruits and veggies that we are able to offer our customers today. Pamela hired Kathleen Wigley as assistant manager in 1994 forming what turned out to be an extraordinarily effective leadership team for the store. Kathleen took over as manager in 1997 (necessity had called Pamela away to attend to family matters) and served the co-op and community in that capacity until 2008. Doug Zilm took over as head of the store for three years after Kathleen’s departure and Joe Zwiebach is now leading SCFC into the future. Over the years, our co-op has continued to thrive and adapt to changing conditions thanks to the support of our member/owners, the community at large, and our fabulous staff!
This short article just touches on some of the highlights of our Co-op’s history but, throughout our 40th anniversary year, there will be more articles and celebrations to look forward to. Please stay tuned!
(Many thanks to Betty Mishuk and Pamela Patrick whose previous writings on the early Co-op years provided most of the information contained in this article)

until someone comes up with a better name for it….

Happy Anniversary!

Spring Cleaning…

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