By: Charity Hester
WASHINGTON – In an age where food is mass produced, people have had few options to get affordable organic local produce. However, the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op provides D.C. neighborhoods with locally grown food while creating a family atmosphere.
Store manager of TPSS, Carlos Veira explained that a co-op is different from a regular grocery store.
“A co-op is different than a store, because most customers are members and that’s like family. Other stores have far vendors who they really don’t have a connection with and all our vendors are from Maryland or Virginia making the connection that much more special and builds the trust,” he said.
TPSS has built trust with its customers by providing products and produce from local farmers and advertising that information on each and every product, so customers will know where it came from and also what’s in it. TPSS Co-op has been in the Takoma Park neighborhood for over 20 years and has established quite a relationship with its customers. This local organic grocery store provides shoppers with produce from nearby, local growers in the Maryland- Virginia area.
The community co-op offers customers more than just meats, fruits, and vegetables. Additionally, it sells health and beauty products, medicines, and hot food on a daily basis.
“They’re willing to help with special orders of what I would personally like and they actually listen and care about what I have to say,” said Ron Davies, a 10-year member of TPSS Co-op.
The convenience of the co-op is what keeps customers coming back. Most customers live in the neighborhood or a walking distance from the store. “I use to live down the street from the store until I moved, but I love the healthy products here so it’s worth the trip now,” said Katie Heffernan, a long-time customer of TPSS.
“Comparing Whole Foods to TPSS isn’t hard at all. They discontinue products frequently with no reason given and they’re not local, which makes it harder to travel when TPSS is right around the corner from my house.”
“I would recommend the store, because we have a lot of good stuff for a reasonable price and it’s not a competitive price to other stores, which makes it easier when choosing where to shop,” said Linda Ajaye, an employee of TPSS.