Friendly City Celebrates Grand Opening

Aaron H. Johnston -- July 10th, 2011

The Friendly City Food Co-op, in downtown Harrisonburg, celebrated their grand opening Saturday afternoon with a ribbon cutting, live music, product samples, and activities for the whole family.

As part of the festivities store general manager Steve Cooke cut the ribbon, officially opening the store to the public. Hundreds of co-op members and individuals from the community shopped in the new grocery store, while The Steel Wheels, Olivarez Trio and The Dish Dogs entertained the crowd with music outside. Families tye-died reusable tote bags, children took part in a co-op scavenger hunt and participants sampled many of the fine products on offer from the co-op’s vendors.

The event was truly a celebration of the hard work that so many in the community have done to make the Friendly City Food Co-op a reality.

Photos and Text by: Aaron H. Johnston


49 Responses to “Friendly City Celebrates Grand Opening”

  1. joe says:

    i was at the openning yesterday. always great to see a new business in town. I hope they do well. Unfortately I just can’t afford to shop there…way to expensive for me.

    i wish them well!

  2. Steve Cooke says:

    Please come back in and check out our Co+op Deals coupons and bi-weekly sales! There are some real deals and the sales change every two weeks, so there is sure to be something you’re looking for each month.

  3. David Miller says:

    hahaha, we know Joe, we know. Personally I still buy most of my ice cream from Kline’s, truly the most expensive ice cream in town. Maybe one day I can downgrade to Ben and Jerry’s, if my taste buds allow for it.

    • Joe says:

      I didn’t notice they had ice cream. I was just referring to meats, milk, produce etc…..i imagine ice cream is expensive too.

      i mean a gallon of milk was just under $7.00….that’s expensive no matter how you cut it.

      It’s a shame you missed the openning. it was really a great community event. bands were great, local vendors and restaurants were there….just good fun.

      • Daniel says:

        $7.00 is not a bad deal for organic milk. You have to remember what you’re paying for; it’s not what’s in the milk you drink, it’s whats NOT in the milk.

        It’s crazy that our government will not allow us, the consumer, to buy milk direct from the farm. There is a cow-share “loophole”, but that’s not exactly convenient for everyone. Not to pick on Joe for being a cheapa**, but using him as an example, I suspect people just like Joe do not even know what milk is supposed to taste like. Same with their beef! Milk should be rich and creamy, almost thick. You’re not going to find milk like this by the gallon at Food Lion or Martins for $3.99.

        I pay $9.00 a gallon for raw milk. That’s less than a 12-pack of beer. But for some reason people will not even think twice about dropping $10 to $16 on a 12-pack, but they think $7 is too much for milk.

        It’s the same thing when it comes to a lot of the food we eat. Why buy free range chicken eggs for $4 when you can get the white chicken eggs for $1? An egg is an egg, right? It’s normal to have a cup of fat/grease left in the pan after frying a pound of hamburger meat, too, right? And unless a chicken breast filet is over 1-pound, there must be something wrong with it…

        People should be more concerned about why kids are growing breasts and starting their cycles before they reach middle school these days instead of complaining about what quality food costs. I would urge people who think $7 is too much for a gallon of milk to watch a few movies such as “Food Inc”, “The High Cost of Low Prices”, “King Corn”, “Food Matters”, “How To Cook Your Life”, etc… Then go support your LOCAL farmer.

        • Joe says:

          i grew up on a farm, i have drank unpasteurized milk…honestly it doesn’t taste that good and I get brown eggs from my own chickens.

          my family also raises our own beef and hogs we butcher the hogs ourselves.

          $7.00 for a gallon of milk is to much for your average shopper. If you want to pay for the glass bottle go for it. I also agree with you that the Govt shouldn’t pass these laws that interfer with your right to buy unpasteurized milk. The Govt passes way to much regulation.

          Regarding the grease in a pan after frying a hamburger…well that depends on the fat can get different ones, 80/20 for example….most cooks will tell you makes the best burger. but 90/10 etc etc…

          and fyi your LOCAL farmer makes milk that is treated, and most chicken farmers grow for companies like Cargill, the poultry co-op etc…so you are supporting your LOCAL famer when you buy their products.

          • Daniel says:

            Nice try, Joe, but not quite. Just because you’re buying beef or chicken at Food Loin or Wal-Mart does not mean you’re supporting local farmers. What do those animals eat? Where does it come from? Ever hear of Monsanto? Do you really think farmers are making money growing corn to feed to their livestock?

            Educate yourself on who is taking government subsidies in your area. Put 2+2 together and figure out who is really paying for that “mom and pop” business down the road who raises chickens or turkeys for Cargill. Cargill certainly is not making it worth their while.

            Look at it like this, Joe. If I buy eggs off of you for $4dz, where does that money go? Sure you’ve got to buy food, water and shelter for your birds. But where does that full $4 go? In your pocket, right? If I buy white eggs (yuck) from Wal-Mart for $0.97, how much of that money is the farmer seeing? $0.20dz?? Less? I would MUCH rather give you $3 or $4 a dozen for quality free range eggs, rather than paying the other framer squat for producing a poor product that Wal-Mart can sell and keep 35% to 50% of the sale price.

            Buying local means cutting out all these middlemen and distributors so the farmer can actually make a profit and spend that profit in the local community.

          • David Miller says:

            One point on your milk point, the very same milk (the exact same) is available at Kroger for more money. The Co-Op is not more expensive, they just carry more expensive items.

        • Janet says:

          Having been married to a chicken farmer, I have been inside of the houses and participated in the grueling work involved. I now purchase free range chicken for consumption. Seeing the chickens grow from peeps to 6 or 7 weeks of age was like watching a science fiction experiment. Having to “cull” the unacceptable chicks was terrible; I had to stand on them and rip their heads off because they were not growing rapidly enough. Quite often, right before they were taken to slaughter, I saw chickens so pumped up on hormones that their breasts would literally fall off their bodies. And as you pointed out, this is what we are feeding our children??? I could not continue in the business and eventually, my husband closed the houses. Not only is this process harmful to humans, it is also cruelty to animals.

  4. David Miller says:

    Really sorry to have missed these festivities, hope the day was great. So many people have put so much effort into making this happen, I hope that they all got to party hardy

    • Joe says:

      yes, obviously if you buy Cargill products from Wal-Mart instead of directly from the farmer, the farmer is getting less. Cargill has employees (including other farmers to pay), Wal-Mart does as well. You’re still supporting the local farmer, and your still supporting the 100s of local employees at Cargill and Wal-Mart.

      Obviously if you buy direct from a farmer the farmer will get more of a return. I have no problem with that. I doubt however your numbers about $3 profit on that $4 sale are accurate though. The farmer has a lot of overhead. I’m also not going to get into the debate on how much contract growers are getting paid. A lot has to do with the market…much like the price you pay when you go to the local farmer and buy his eggs.

      To each his own, but Cargill, Wal-Mart etc provide cheaper foods for a large porition of the US and Woeld population that can’t afford your much more expensive eggs.

  5. Becky says:

    Great event FCFC!! You all have done a great job. Thanks Aaron for the photos. They capture the essence of the day beautifully.

  6. David Miller says:

    Let me just put it this way, if I can avoid paying stockholder’s their cut by paying the producer directly, I’m going to

  7. joe says:

    that’s fine. but just so you know stockholders are teachers, firefighters, policeman, farmers, bank tellers, storeowners…millions of Americans have their retirement accounts in stocks. 401Ks, pensions, mutual funds etc…

  8. David Miller says:

    I’m fully aware of how the stock market works, thanks. I still chose to shop locally and avoid the middle men where possible. I’ll encourage the same from you if possible

  9. Ross says:

    I just love sausage gravy…do they offer this at the FCFC?

  10. joe says:

    they have some sausage….you have to make your own gravy though.

    • Ross says:

      I have to admit, I haven’t been to the FCFC yet. But your comment Joe conjured up an idea. (If they don’t already have this) A fresh food/salad bar – filled with delicious local fruits,veggies, cheeses and local favorites such as sausage gravy and country ham pot pie, sold by the pound. My mouth is watering thinking about it!

  11. Emmy says:

    They have a soup/salad bar as well as a case with grab and go items. They also have local cheese and sausage that you could make your owns gravy with. Space is limited in the store so they can’t go but so crazy with the ready-to-eat options.

  12. David Miller says:

    but they do have some great options, try the Chop House’s pasta salad. They’ve got great wraps from more than a few awesome downtown joints, you can even take home a Dave’s pizza kit.

  13. joe says:

    why not go directly to Dave’s or the Chop House and cut out the middle man?

  14. Emmy says:

    Because some people don’t have time to go to lunch somewhere but they have time to pick up something at the store….is this really that hard to figure out?

  15. joe says:

    Emmy I’m sure there are many reasons why someone might want to go to hte Coop for Chop House pasta salad or Dave’s Pizza…I was merely highlighting how Dave Miller said he wouldn’t shop at Wal-Mart because he wanted to cut the middle man out…yet doesn’t have a problem using the “middle man” when it’s the Coop. Mainly highlighting the flaw in his prior arguement.

    • Daniel says:

      LOL, you’re clueless, Joe.

      Dave lives in Harrisonburg. Dave owns a place in Harrisonburg. Dave employs people from around Harrisonburg. Dave, and his employees, shop in and around Harrisonburg. If you buy a pizza from Dave, or a pizza kit made by Dave and sold in a local store, the money stays local.

      If you buy a pizza from Wal-Mart, your money is not staying local. Most of your money goes to China so Wal-Mart can buy even more cheap junk to flood our landfills.

      Lets not even talk about the quality difference between a Daves’ pizza and a Wal-mart pizza. Of course, folks like you could probably not tell the difference between a Daves pizza and a frozen Reggio’s Chicago Style Pizza from Wal-Mart.

      Joe, you don’t like fresh produce or supporting your local community. We get it. Now go back to Wal-Mart and re-stock your Hungry Man and frozen burrito supply.

      • Joe says:

        I like supporting the community….Wal-Mart and Cargill employee way more people then both Dave’s and the Co-op. I have no problem with teh Co-op and certainly not Dave’s but don’t tell me you want to cut the middle man out as your arguement for not supporting massive local employers like Wal-Mart and Cargill, but then support the middle man in the Co-op when you buy Dave’s Pizza from them.

        You are supporting the local community when you support Wal-Mart and Cargil because they employee a very large portion of the local population.

        and yes, obviously a Dave’s Pizza is better then a frozen pizza, I never suggested otherwise. I like both of them, they both serve a purpose. I don’t always have the money to go out and buy a Dave’s Pizza, or buy pizza kit from some middle man, sometimes it’s more cost effective to buy the cheaper frozen pizza. I am not always rolling in the money like some of you.

    • David Miller says:

      You aren’t highlighting a flaw, these are items not available from these restaurants on the regular and they are items specifically offered as a cooperative effort between two locally owned and operated businesses. These offerings replace a normal grocery store’s “imported” sides and ready made meals that come from god knows where and made with god knows what. There are no profits that are being skimmed by stockholders or corporate structures and transportation costs are minimized, this is a positive thing. Thanks for playing

      • Joe says:

        Dave’s doesn’t sell pizza on a regular bases?

        One of your main arguements against Cargil and Wal-Mart was they were the middle man….seems like the Coop is acting like the middle man between buying a pizza from Dave’s and buying a pizza kit from Dave’s.

        You seem to be ok with buying the pizza kit, but upset if you have to buy Cargil Chicken tenders from Wal-Mart

        • seth says:

          i don’t think any of this is actually about the villainization of the middle man. it seems to me that you’re frustrated by the somewhat judgemental tone so many folks take against those who patronize walmart. my advice would be to appreciate the coop for what it has to offer, appreciate walmart for what it has to offer and not let folks who get off on the holier than thou kick bring you down/draw you into ridiculous arguments.

          (in the interest of full and meaningless disclosure, i’m a coop member and a walmart shopper)

    • Emmy says:

      Except there’s a huge difference…so no, there’s no flaw in his argument. I feel you must work for Wal-Mart or Cargill.

  16. David Miller says:

    btw, I’m not the owner of Dave’s Taverna

  17. So, FCFC offers higher quality food at higher prices, with a higher rate of locally produced and organically produced stuff than Wal-Mart. Anyone can go to either to get what they prefer.

    As for the middle man argument, this is just a red herring either way, really should be a non-issue on all sides.

  18. Emmy says:

    I don’t see the issue as being are you better because you shop at FCFC over Wal-Mart (I’m a co-op member and shop at Wal-Mart) rather that Joe apparently doesn’t understand the difference between local business and local employer (including where the food comes from, who the money goes to, etc.)

    I am going to stop trying to make him understand this concept.

    • Joe says:

      Of course I understand the difference. I believe I was the one the highlighted the difference between Locally Owned Business, and just calling something a local business.

      The money from a local employer is just as green as a money from a locally owned business. In fact a local employer like Cargil or Wal-Mart puts more money in our economy then a smaller business. Both a good.

  19. David Miller says:

    A good way to address many of these problems is to increase the minimum wage to a minimum living wage. Anyone willing to work 8 hours a day should be able to feed their family and afford good health care.

    • Joe says:

      i for one think people should be paid what they are worth. A job as a checkout clerk isn’t as demanding nor should be paid as much as say a loan officer.

      Min wage only drives up unemployment, and makes it harder for smaller businesses like the Co-Op, Klines, or a company like Groundeffects or Fine Earth to hire more employees.

  20. David Miller says:

    Sorry Joe but you’re wrong. What you’re saying isn’t backed by research, unless you’d like to prove otherwise. I’ll give you an example of what happens when a company like Walmart is unregulated in “the free market”. There is strong evidence that jobs created by Walmart in metropolitan areas pay less and are less likely to offer benefits than those they replace. Controlling for differences in geographic location, Walmart workers earn an estimated 12.4 percent less than retail workers as a whole, and 14.5 percent less than workers in large retail in general.

  21. David Miller says:

    “you can find it in any basic economic 101 textbook as well. ” is an incorrect statement until you quote for me where you’ve found that, personally speaking I’ve aced my econ classes, how about you?

  22. David Miller says:

    “This study uses the most recent data available to update the 2007 report on the impact to workers and shoppers if Walmart increased its minimum wage. It finds that a $12 per hour minimum wage would provide substantial benefits to Walmart workers in low-income families, while the costs would be dispersed in small amounts among many consumers across the income spectrum.” same study

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