Contact: Roodline Volcy, RCC Board President
Phone: (239) 529-0779
Date: January 9, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
RENAISSANCE COMMUNITY CO-OP TO CLOSE ITS DOORS ON JANUARY 25, 2019
The Renaissance Community Cooperative, a full-service community-owned grocery store that opened in 2016 to end an eighteen year food desert in Northeast Greensboro, will be closing its doors on January 25th. A letter from the RCC Board to the store’s 1,300 community owners expressed the Board’s deep sadness about the closure:
It is with a heavy heart that we inform you that we must close our grocery store. Our goal from the beginning was to build a self-sustaining store that met the community’s needs for good jobs and fresh, affordable food. Since the store opened, we have not been able to produce the sales we need to be sustainable. By late December, it became apparent to us and our financial partners that there was no foreseeable way to boost our sales astronomically, which is what we would need to do to stay open. Our sales are simply too low to cover our expenses. Thus, our last day of operations will be January 25th.
We thank you for all you have invested in the co-op, and all you have invested in bringing this cooperative and our grocery store into existence. Thank you for believing that we could own something great together, pay our employees with dignity and govern our business through democracy. Thank you for evangelizing to your friends and community members about the investment you made in this cooperative, and making them members too. We thank many of you for your volunteer hours, attending meetings where we learned together and thought together, and for spending your dollars at the co-op.
Though we are heartbroken that we must close our doors, it is important to recognize that in even opening our store, building a cooperatively owned business in a predominantly Black community with over 1300 owners was a huge accomplishment. Ending a food desert, even for a little over two years, is a huge accomplishment. By investing in the RCC, we provided valuable work experience and professional development to dozens of employees. Our organizing to open the grocery store led to Self-Help Ventures Fund upfitting a previously decrepit shopping center in North East Greensboro. They are committed to the continued economic development of the area. We also gained the experience of pooling our resources- monetary and otherwise- to build something together. Although closing the store hurts, it would be even worse if people took away from this experience misconceptions that we were unable to keep the store open because community ownership does not work or because of the community in which RCC operated. Allowing this to dim our commitment to community-ownership as a method of community wealth building would be a true failure.
The RCC Board will be hosting a community meeting on Monday, January 14that 6:00 PM at the Renaissance Community Co-op (2517 Phillips Avenue), so that owners and other community members can learn more about the closure, ask questions, mourn the closing of the store, and connect with fellow co-op owners.
The public is also encouraged to shop at the store as often as possible between now and the 25th– there will be some great bargains!