Not Buying It: Co-opers Could Care Less About New Whole Foods

co oper Not Buying It: Co opers Could Care Less About New Whole Foods“It’s not Dean & Deluca, but the prices are unbelievable,” John Haffner Layden said, standing in front of the pretty decent cheese case at the Park Slope Food Coop last night. The 21-year member has been working the same monthly shift for more than a decade, and he took some time out to show The Observer around, explaining how the co-op will always be superior to the new Whole Foods.

Here is what he and other co-op shoppers had to say:

  • “You can buy individual tea bags for less than a quarter, which I’m pretty sure you can’t at Whole Wallet.”
  • “I feel like Whole Foods is not something to be worried about. They’re really distinct models. Do you want to be involved in your community and your food, or do you just want a fancy feast?”
  • “If you’re a working person, it sure is nice to have someone watch your kids while you go shopping.”
  • “The place where this place really kicks ass is the produce. They explain during the orientation–it’s really cool–that every 12 to 24 hours, the produce turns over. At other grocery stores, it’s every four days. I don’t know what it is at Whole Foods, but it’s probably about the same.”
  • “Here I get to have a nice conversation with my friend Bill Ferguson, the founder of the band Lotion. You’re probably too young to know them, but they toured.”
  • “I’ll definitely still shop co-op, 100 percent.”
  • “I respect that Joe Public can have more healthy food in general, but it’s become corporate over the years.”
  • “This is so much more than just a grocery store.”
  • “There are plenty of supermarkets around the neighborhood already, so Whole Foods won’t really change much.”
  • “The co-op’s the shit and you can quote me on that.”

RELATED: Whole Prudes: Why Is High-End Retail So Scarce in Park Slope?

mchaban [at] observer.com | @mc_nyo