By Alecia Reid

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — South Philadelphia is getting a food cooperative, and it was the community who organized to make it a reality. It’s been 10 years in the making.

Neighbors have invested time and money and now the community-owned grocery store, which is mostly run by volunteers, is set to open.

Stocking shelves and prepping for the big reveal.

“We can’t wait,” Eli Sachs said.

It’s been a long wait for the South Philly Food Co-Op.

“Yes, 10 years! Isn’t that something?” South Philly Food Co-Op General Manager Lori Burge said.

The idea was launched back in 2010. After years of community organizing and investing, there are currently 1,400 neighbors who co-own the store, including Sachs and his family, who’ve been in the neighborhood for about three years.

“Co-ops are great because they support local food scene, they local producers. We have a big say into where our money goes. It’s really encouraging to see it really take foot locally,” Sachs said.

The buzz is growing as community members stop by to inquire.

The co-op is a welcome addition, as it sits on the border of what neighbors consider a food desert.

“In order to get to a grocery store you have to walk really far, have access to a car, or take public transit. And in the COVID reality that is incredibly difficult,” Burge said.

Teaming up with hundreds of local farmers and manufacturers, fresh produce and meats will arrive next week, right before the grand opening.

“We’ll have a lot of local products that we will be featuring her in our store and then, of course, we’ll have a lot of natural, organic, sustainable, fair trade products,” Burge said.

Of course with the current social distancing mandate, only 12 customers are allowed in the store at a time.

The store was slated to open back in May but that was delayed due to a work stoppage. It will finally open next Wednesday at noon


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