The Mariposa Co-op is an atypical grocery store in West Philadelphia. Founded in the 1960’s, and at its current location on Baltimore Avenue; near 47th Street; since 1971, it is a small food market in which one must be a member to shop, as well as, volunteer their labor occasionally throughout the year. According to the Mariposa website:
“Mariposa Coop strives to provide residents of West Philadelphia and beyond with access to and information about food, especially healthy, locally grown or otherwise sustainably produced products. Our primary activity is running a food co-op owned by those who shop there, who actively participate in its governance and operations on an egalitarian consensus-seeking basis. Mariposa is organized according to the principles of the international cooperative movement.”
Mariposa Co-op focuses on locally grown and sustainably grown food. They avoid most processed items. Members share in the governance and volunteer a minimum of 26 hours per year to operate the store, with some paid staff. In exchange, they receive affordable, healthy and sustainable food at lower-than-average prices. The co-op started with a few dozen members, but now has over 1,000. They have seen considerable growth in recent years, with a 12% increase in sales in 2010, 16% in 2009, and 9.6% in 2008, as well as, a waiting list for new members.
So because of this growth, the Mariposa Co-op has decided to move to a new, much larger space at 4824 Baltimore Avenue at 49th Street. The new space is in a rapidly revitalizing area surrounding Cedar Park, in the middle of the neighborhood of the same name. The building that they are moving to was an old bank building that had been used as the Beulah Baptist Church for many years. It has been vacant for a few years and the Co-op decided to purchase it in 2009. The current location of 500 square feet in a colorful, but typically sized Baltimore Avenue retail space, is not nearly large enough to have the wide variety of fresh meat and produce that the current, and prospective members, are looking for. The new space is designed by Re:Vision Architecture and will have much more space for displaying and storing produce throughout the first level and wider, wheelchair accessible aisles. The second level will have space for a community room, often used for classes and community meetings, and a mezzanine with a small cafe overlooking the store below. The roof will have a rooftop farm, complete with beehives, and a produce preparation and demonstration area. As expected, the building will include many sustainable and green construction features, including rainwater cisterns; high-efficiency boilers and water heaters; signage made from recycled wooden pallets; LED lighting on the shelves; and high-efficiency fluorescent light fixtures with occupancy sensors.
One of the biggest changes, with the new location, is that Mariposa Co-op will now allow non-members to shop there. This will make the store more accessible to the diverse neighborhoods surrounding the new location. Members will still have considerable discounts, but now anyone would be able to shop there and would have access to the kind of organic and sustainable food that is sold at stores like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods.
You can find out more about the Mariposa Co-op at the link to their website above and this video, and you can learn more about the expansion on this link, here, and see photos and renderings of the expansion and existing store, below. And, if you’re looking to buy, sell, or rent a home or investment property in this rapidly developing neighborhood, then feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out my Facebook realtor page, Gabriel G. Philly Realtor. You can, also, check out our Condo Shop website, www.thecondoshops.com, or our Condo Shop Facebook page, here.