2019 Quarter 1 Board Report
By Megan Myers, Board Member
March 18, 2009 marks Wheatsfield’s move to its current 413 Northwestern Avenue location. As Wheatsfield approaches the tenth year since its expansion and relocation, this decade-long anniversary serves as an ample time to reflect on what Wheatsfield means to the community. At recent $5 dinners (if you haven’t yet checked these out, I would highly recommend them!) I asked ten individuals who were enjoying their dinners alongside family and friends to define Wheatsfield in just one word.
FRIENDLY. COMMUNITY. RECIPROCAL. YUMMY. INCLUSIVE. EDUCATIONAL. LOCAL. COOPERATIVE. SUSTAINABLE. GIVING.
These are only ten words, from just a handful of community members, that attempt to describe all that Wheatsfield encompasses. The ten responses are different, but also connected. They speak to the mission of the co-op, but also to the store culture and product selection. A reflection on the tenth anniversary of the store location on Northwestern also entails looking back and remembering the previous store locations, the roots of the Wheatsfield that our community knows and enjoys today. To offer a brief history, Wheatsfield first opened its doors in Ames (then known as the Mutual Aid Food Association or MAFA) at Alumni Hall on Iowa State’s Campus in 1974. Three years later, a new storefront opened in downtown Ames on 136 Main Street and in 1980 the store was moved to 413 Douglas, where it remained for 29 years. While operating from this longstanding location, approximately 3,000 square feet, the co-op saw many important changes: the addition of a small eating area, the joining of the National Cooperative Grocers in 2002, and the establishment of the patronage dividend system, to mention only a few.
As a new board member and a Mom of young children, I might add that my one-word description of Wheatsfield is accessible; the co-op is not only easily accessed by bike, by foot, by stroller, or by car, but the space itself proves accessible for our youngest and oldest community members. Regardless of the word(s) that describe Wheatsfield, the important realization is that these values – the ways that people view and define the co-op and its mission and outreach – are constants. Alumni Hall, Main Street, Douglas, or Northwestern, regardless of location, the heart of the store is a constant. Happy tenth year anniversary, 413 Northwestern!