Woman organizing food co-op in downtown Schenectady

December 02, 2016 10:47 AM

SCHENECTADY - Downtown Schenectady has lots of things, from businesses to banks to Proctors Theatre.

However, there’s one woman who says downtown is missing something – a grocery store. She’s making it her business to change that.

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"I grew up on a farm, so I know what food should be and I know how it should be raised," explained Katherine Wolfram.

Her passion right now centers around bringing that kind of food to the big city, specifically downtown Schenectady. That area has had a renaissance of sorts.

"I thought let’s solve the food desert problem," she explained.

Wolfram came up with this idea in 2010. Six years later, she’s still working at it, but she’s not deterred.

There’s already a name, the Electric City Food Co-op. There’s already a board, co-op members and she’s done a survey.

"Two hundred and sixty people said that they would likely join," noted Wolfram.

In fact, nearly 200 people are already member owners. That includes Matt Robbins, owner of the Happy Cappuccino on Jay Street. He sees this as not only good for the community, but says it will continue to contribute to the new life the city has.

"The local business have really been a huge part of making Schenectady desirable," noted Robbins. "We need a grocery store, and a co-op is a great way to do it, because it’s community based, you’re part owner."

Right now, Wolfram says some residents buy food wherever they can get it.

"They’re paying high dollar to go to convenience stores and eat junk food," pointed out Wolfram.

However, those residents, along with the people that will soon live in apartments being constructed nearby, would be the prime candidates to shop at the grocery store. Wolfram also says don’t forget about the people who work downtown.

"Where would I like it? Someplace with parking, easy access to 890 and a great landlord," she concluded.


Elaine Houston

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