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Weavers Way Co-op plans to open its fourth store, in Germantown

The co-op is taking a former Acme market less than two miles from the Mount Airy store, which seems to be bursting at the seams.

Weavers Way's Mount Airy location is at Greene Street and Carpenter Lane.
Weavers Way's Mount Airy location is at Greene Street and Carpenter Lane.Read moreCourtesy Weavers Way

As its 50th anniversary approaches, Weavers Way Co-op has signed a lease for its fourth location, a former Acme supermarket at the corner of Chelten Avenue and Morris Street in the city’s Germantown section.

At about 6,000 square feet, the community-owned grocery store — whose opening is targeted for summer 2023 — will be larger than the Mount Airy and Chestnut Hill stores, but smaller than the most recent location, Ambler, which opened in 2017.

It’s also less than two miles from the Mount Airy store, which since its opening seems to be bursting at the seams.

The new co-op, to employ 40 to 45 people, has a modest parking lot. SEPTA’s Route 26 bus stops right outside. Green building practices and as many reused materials as possible will go into it, including the original terrazzo flooring. As a former supermarket, it has a freight elevator and high ceilings with loading access. The co-op says 1,400 member households live in the immediate area.

Even now, more than a year before its opening, the co-op is about to launch outreach efforts. The store will offer shelf space and opportunities to new vendors through Weavers Way’s Vendor Diversity program, and a community fridge will be set up.

Weavers Way was founded in 1973 by Jules Timerman, a computer programmer who wanted to live a more meaningful life. He started by selling winesap apples from his porch on Carpenter Lane and then opened a small co-op in the basement of a nearby church. He had his children, Andrea and Alex, go through the neighborhood to tell residents that their father was creating a new way to get fresh food. Then he bought the former Sid’s Deli at 557 Carpenter Lane. The co-op expanded next door soon after. Timerman left in the 1970s after a difference of opinion with the board; he died in 2008.

At the beginning, everyone ages 16 and older in member households had to work six hours a year. Now, it’s a volunteer effort; members who work six hours a year receive a year-round discount of 5%.

The co-op is getting support from the city Commerce Department and will be financed in part by Pennsylvania through the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, administered by the Food Trust.