Wheatsville’s New South Location Opening Today
Austin hippies strike another blow against soulless capitalism
By Kate Thornberry,
7:00AM, Fri. Sep. 20, 2013
Wheatsville Co-op has taken the step of expanding beyond the campus area. The first, long-desired and eagerly-awaited new Wheatsville location at 4001 South Lamar will open this Friday morning, Sept. 19, at 7:30am.
"With this expansion, we will be able to create more local, organic, sustainable food, more co-op economy, and more happy people! That's the reason we're in business – and we couldn't be happier seeing our BIG Direction vision become a reality,” says General Manager Dan Gillotte.
Wheatsville, Austin’s original grocery co-op just north of campus on Guadalupe Street, has thrived ever since it's doors opened in 1975. Co-operative organizations for both housing and food distribution were revolutionary ideas born of the Great Depression that experienced a resurgence in popularity during the late Sixties and early Seventies. Both eras were times that American workers grew disenchanted with the unrestrained, winner-takes-all brand of capitalism that has historically caused great suffering when used as a metric to distribute necessities, such as food and shelter.
Students at the University of Texas have always been quick to appreciate the benefits of co-ops, and UT boasts many housing co-ops (such as the Taos Co-op and the network of College Houses) as well as the famous University Co-op where most students purchase their textbooks. Wheatsville Co-op began as an all-volunteer food distribution co-op, that over the years grew into a reliable and popular grocery owned wholly by its customers.
The governing board did not realize just how popular their co-operative grocery was with generations of Austinites until the original store needed remodeling and expansion. The money was raised quickly and easily from existing members of the Co-op, causing the board to consider that perhaps the store could expand to other areas of Austin where desire ran high for additional Wheatsville locations.
Fifty percent larger than the Guadalupe Wheatsville, the new south store will house an in-house, scratch bakery where artisan breads will be baked. It will also have a much expanded deli, and will have a community meeting space to be used for various purposes, including cooking classes and other demonstrations. The new store will also boast comfortable indoor/outdoor cafe seating, large skylights that allow natural light into the store, locally made Kombucha and Maine Root sodas on tap, cruelty-free wellness products, and sustainably harvested seafood.