Honest Weight Food Co-Op Café at ESP

Update: The cafe is now scheduled to open January 6.

Interesting: The Honest Weight Food Co-op will be serving food at a cafe in the Empire State Plaza's main concourse cafeteria starting January 2, according to an OGS press release. "Menu choices will include fresh-made organic juices and smoothies, soups and sandwiches made with local and organic ingredients and a number of salads. There will be vegan and gluten-free choices every day."

Earlier: New food options at Empire State Plaza

HWFC advertises on AOA

Press release:

New York State Office of General services (OGS) Commissioner RoAnn Destito today announced that Honest Weight Food Co-Op Café will begin serving food in the main concourse cafeteria on January 2. They will be open Monday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Menu choices will include fresh-made organic juices and smoothies, soups and sandwiches made with local and organic ingredients and a number of salads. There will be vegan and gluten-free choices every day.
"Honest Weight has earned an excellent reputation in the Capital Region for serving high-quality, healthy foods so we know this new location will be extremely popular with staff and visitors," said Commissioner Destito. "Our customers have given us lots of positive feedback on the local food options in our main cafeteria area. With the addition of the Honest Weight Co-op Café, there won't be a better place in the area to sample so much great local food in one location."
"The Honest Weight Co-op Café is thrilled to be able to offer New York State workers more local, organic and sustainable food!" said Honest Weight Food Service Manager Donna Quinn.
The Honest Weight Food Co-op is a member owned and operated consumer cooperative that is open to the public and committed to providing the community with affordable, high quality natural foods and products for healthy living. Honest Weight was established as a buying club in 1976 to provide natural foods at low cost to its members. In 2013, after nearly 40 years of growth, the Co-op moved from its old Central Avenue location into a newly built store at 100 Watervliet Avenue in the city of Albany. In keeping with their mission, the building was constructed with an emphasis on environmental sustainability.


While this is good news for state workers to have more healthy food options, I think it's disturbing that the Honest Weight Food Co-op has embarked on a major initiative like this without the input of the membership -- or even informing the members (and the many member-investors). This is the first I heard of this.

Other ideas have been mentioned at member meetings such as satellite shops in low income neighborhoods. This Empire State Plaza satellite café should have been put to the membership for discussion, not just decided by the Leadership Team and paid managers about what direction the co-op should take for future expansion. It is disturbing how co-op democracy is being undermined at the same time everyone is excited about the shiny new store. It may well be that the membership would have enthusiastically supported a satellite café at the ESP, but it should have been a membership decision. I feel more and more that the Honest Weight is a store, not a cooperative.

I am a member of Honest Weight and I think this is excellent!

Wow chrisck, way to take some great news and spin it into something negative. It's pretty sad that you would take internal politics and publish them on a blog that is clearly promoting bringing healthy foods to a larger demographic. Talk about sour grapes! I've been meaning to check out the the new store, but encounters with people like you are the only reason left why I don't shop at Honest Weight. Parking at the old store was #1. Think about all the real world issues there are, and you are complaining about not having a voice in what appears to be a very smart and healthy idea of expanding the reach of healthy food?

@xina -- I basically think it's excellent, too. My concerns are about the cooperative decision making process that I see faltering as more and more authority is concentrated in a top-down management structure.

This a big step up for the ESP, and a good idea, I think. Frankly, I've never though that the prepared food at the COOP was very good (although I love their bulk food section), but it is a far sight better than Mickey D's.

@Dino -- sorry you don't think a democratic, cooperative process of long standing (30+ years) is worth defending.

And stop by the Cheese Dept. where you'll find me sampling out cheese with charming customer service. I'm a long time member, supporter, and investor in the store. Also, an outspoken critic when necessary.

My guess is OGS didn't want it discussed publicly until it was a done deal and presenting it to members could have risked that. That is a complete guess though.

Who selects the leadership? Don't members a say? Isn't that what a "democratic process" looks like?
I have never lived in Albany, but I worked there for 20 years, and I don't remember a decent place to eat at ESP.

I've been shopping at the HWFC since it was on Quail street. Now, whenever I visit Albany, I make a visit and have some soup and prepared salads as will as stocking up on staples that cannot be found elsewhere.. The only problem is the prices; Trader Joes is cheaper.

Also a member. My assumption was that a decision and the proposal had to be made on too short a timeline for the democratic decision-making process. I'm not very involved in the co-op anymore so I can't say (or even guess) with any authority though.

I work down there, so happy. I will definitely support it but it will have Au bon Pain to compete with price wise and food wise. I was a member and am no more. Glad of that. Lots of bickering all the time I heard at the meeting. Be joyful that more healthy food is going to be offered. I think thou it would have been courteous for them to atleast let the members know. I'm sure next time they will take that into consideration. I heard about the bickering thou at the meetings over ridiculous things. I shop there, but want no part in the membership. Maybe they should become a franchise not coop then..hmmmm...they are very popular.

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