112 Quail Street. The Co-op opens to the public.
A remodel adding 3,000 square feet begins, resulting in a strong increase in sales growth year after year for the next decade.
112 Quail Street. The Co-op opens to the public.
A remodel adding 3,000 square feet begins, resulting in a strong increase in sales growth year after year for the next decade.
Membership votes to the land and at 100 Watervliet Avenue.
vote 187-17 in favor of the new store’s design. The new 30,000-square-foot building will meet the requirements to be designated a “green” building by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).
As we celebrate 46 years as Albany’s community-owned grocery store, we are focused on rebuilding and growth. We continue to navigate challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, and things are finally looking up. We’ve invited people back into the co-op for live events and classes, and our community action work is back in full swing. In August, we launched a new satellite café location on the Maria College campus and reopened our kiosk at Empire State Plaza in Janu ary. In June, our membership voted 86% in favor of exploring expansion into Schenectady in collaboration with Electric City Co-op. We’re excited to be growing with the needs of the community and the future is bright!
June 19th The new store
June Member ship votes overwhelmingly to authorize the removal of the existing building and build a new one, to be constructed with an emphasis on environ mental sustainability.
An August ground breaking kicks off construction.
opens. Its features include improved parking (with a porous parking lot) and expanded amenities,
et another year has flown by here at the Co-op!
Fiscal Year 2021-22 contin ued to present COVID-related issues. Our able Staff once again met those challenges, while Member-Owner (MO) time invest ments continued to rise. We greatly appreciate everyone’s efforts. Remember, MOs, we want, need, and appreciate your time on the floor, in the store!
The biggest news in FY 21-22: The Board’s decision to join an exploratory committee with Electric City Food Co-op to examine the viability of opening another full-service HWFC site in downtown Schenectady. At our May Special Member ship Meeting (SMM), 86% of MOs present voted to continue exploring this possibility. The Board and Management are fully committed to involving the Membership in this important process. Be on the lookout in FY 22-23 for a SMM where MOs will decide on further involvement in this endeavor.
We launched the Long Range Planning Committee last winter. As has been the case over the past two years, COVID presents a huge challenge, necessitating remote information gathering and meet ings rather than the more personal approach we’d all prefer. Meeting times and dates are on the HWFC website if you’re interested in the goings-on. We intend to bring this to the entire Membership, so keep an eye out!
In September 2021, Chief Cooperative Officer (CCO) Rick Mausert retired. The Board’s CCO Search Committee included Board members, Staff, and MOs. The search did not result in a hiring. CFO Erin Martin became our first Interim CCO, and Stephen Quickenton continues to serve in this role.
We welcome, and are thankful for, your vital participation in running and governing our beloved Co-op. We look forward to a rewarding year.Cooperatively, Your Board of Directors Janet Sorell President Mollie Lampi Vice-President Carolynn Presser Treasurer Barry Walston Wendy Hord Secretary Kim Kaiser Rebecca Dinhofer
ember-Owners have really shown up this year!
Through the ups and downs of recent times, we’ve consistently had hundreds of MOs show up each month to invest their time and energy into HWFC—with tens of thousands of hours invested this year between the sales floor, governance, administration and programming. Our quarterly Zoom Membership Meetings have attracted record participation, with over double the neces sary attendees to meet quorum. At our May Special Membership Meeting, almost 200 MOs attended to give and hear info about collaborating with Electric City Food Coop. And we’re growing with Membership Drives again! We held our first Membership Drive in June 2022 and are planning more for the future!
Purpose: To explore ways for HWFC to actively and consistently support an anti-racist agenda. They can be reached at AntiRacism@honestweight.coop
• Continued to dig in deep on the characteristics of white supremacy culture and on building a committee culture that strives to challenge those attributes.
• Researched anti-racism training for employees and chose the Crawford Bias Reduction Training with Dr. Dana Crawford. The ARC is continuing the conversation to bring anti-racism training to part-time staff and member-owners.
Co-hosted the HWFC Book Discussion Group meetings with the Membership Committee about the books Mindful of Race by Ruth King and Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson.
• Wrote articles to be published in the Honest Slate in order to engage staff and membership in anti-racism at HWFC.
• Combined the Journeywork and Human Resources subcommittees to achieve tasks together with all hands on deck in the decision-making process.
Serves to provide information about the Co-op to member-owners. The Committee publishes the monthly Membership newsletter, Honest Slate. They can be reached at CommunicationComm@honestweight.coop
Comm Comm continued as an information hub for Membership, publishing HWFC’s bylaws-mandated newsletter Honest Slate each month. Knowing our Co-op’s success depends on a strong Membership, we informed and encouraged activity by conveying governance matters and related store needs. Our six-plus member team
researched and presented material important to the Co-op’s current and future standing with accuracy and integrity.
• Relaying Anti-racism, we chronicled HWFC’s social justice mission, publish ing contributions from ARC.
• Tracking progress in leadership following former CCO Rick Mausert’s retirement, we interviewed CFO Erin Martin and Operations Director Stephen Quickenton as each filled in as Interim CCO.
• Launching new columns, we gladly widened our scope to offer specialized info from MO contributors.
• Continuing coverage of Member ship/governance action and Co-op community activity from elections to ecology, we featured articles in collaboration with other Board committees on Zero Waste, public policy, and timely events.
• Bringing home Book Club, we conveyed the gist of Mem Comm’s bimonthly book group exploring caste, sociocracy, kinship, and more.
We asked our ten committees what accomplishments they're most proud of this year. Here's what they had to say.
Serves to find and review nominees for the Governance Review Council and the Board of Directors.
They can be reached at, ElectionsComm@honestweight.coop
• Prepared and published Board candidate information forms with updated candidate questions, received completed candidate forms, and communicated with candidates before and after elections.
• Now accept nominees for the Board of Directors anytime during the year, not just
prior to the April Membership Meeting. This provides greater availability to all Member-Owners regarding what it means to serve on the Board. See details and the Candidate Nomination Form on the HWFC website.
• Prepared ballots for five elections (three in consecutive months) with 10 unique votes put before the membership in five Membership Meetings.
• ntroduced real-time updating of electronic ballots at GRC and Board elections with floor-nominated candidates, thus expediting and simplifying vote counting.
• Improved voting experience for phone voters, allowing them to vote at the same time as electronic voting is opened, instead of holding them until the end of the open discussion.
• In collaboration with the Membership Committee and the Board, planned and hosted the Cooperative Governance at HWFC remote workshop. Presentation slides can be found on the website Governance page.
• We welcomed two new committee members.
Serves to promote and highlight ways environmental stewardship and initiatives are enacted by HWFC; to develop and support environmental actions that are
• Community solar went live in December 2021, providing member-own ers, customers, and the HWFC store electricity account with 100% renewable energy. Nearly 200 customers signed up under HWFC's community solar initiative. For the store account, solar produced $8,169 in bill savings which was 8% of the total bill during this seven-month period ending in June 2022.
• We partnered with the Marketing Department to develop a first-Thurs day-of-the-month event series focused on environmental issues and their solutions.
• In February 2022, we co-facilitated the very well-attended kick-off event for the first Thursday program tackling the
question "What Do We Do about Plastics Recycling?" Local recycling experts held a panel discussion on “Plastics Recycling in the Capital Region and Beyond: Myths vs Markets.”
• We finalized and began delivering the “What Do We Do About Zero Waste In Our Homes?” presentation and interactive workshop.
• We developed a working group that began assembling information for creation of an 'environment manual' that the Board commissioned to guide environmental policies and actions at HWFC.
The Honest Arts Committee aspires to engage imagination, stimulate conversation, and strengthen connec tions in the store and community by coordinating, promoting, and encourag ing arts in the Co-op. Why art? Art is a universal language allowing people to express themselves and share their feelings with others. Art expresses feelings, emotions, and thoughts in ways that are not always possible in words or actions. Art is a reflection of society and culture. Art builds community by giving us a place to gather, both literally and figuratively. It helps us understand what we are as human beings and influences how we relate to each other. Art helps us deal with tough times. When art is controversial or groundbreaking, when
it creates a stir, it has the potential to spark healthy and thoughtful conversa tions that lead to improvements across a society.
In the last six years the committee has featured the work of dozens of artists in the hallway gallery and the HWFC website, staff break room, and other locations in the store and encouraged the installation of murals inside and outside the building. Recent gallery shows included "My Country: Your Country." Recently painted murals invigorate the Produce Department and the Health and Wellness Department. The committee is always seeking new members and ideas for new art. Reach out to us at HonestArtsCommit email@example.com.
Serves to encourage member engagement and participation, preserve the rights and roles of member-owners, and find creative ways to address member-owner issues and concerns. They can be reached at member firstname.lastname@example.org Some of our activities over the past year include:
• The bi-monthly book group entered its second year, continuing collaborations with other committees. A highlight was a visit from an editor of one of the books discussed. The events have generated takeaway action items in many areas of HWFC culture, including the
Serves to provide educational materials related to food issues. They can be reached at NutritionComm@honestweight.coop
During the last fiscal year we worked on the following initiatives:
•Monthly articles for the Honest Slate published under the Food For Thought page are one of our initiatives. We worked closely with the Communication Committee to select topics that are timely and of interest.
• Three separate Meat Charts were updated (ruminants, poultry, pork, and rabbit) to inform our shoppers about the sourcing of our meats as well as details regarding type of feed, animal treatment and growing conditions.
formation of a Nonviolent Communica tion Practice Group.
• In partnership with the ENC, the committee recruited Evelyn Wright to provide a workshop on Cooperative Governance. It included discussion of how HWFC is governed, who is responsible for what, ways to get involved, and the importance of participation. The slide presentation is available on our website for those who were unable to attend.
• In June, with the help of the marketing department, the committee held an
The Personnel Committee researches, defines, and clarifies the rules and policies contained in the employee manual. Recommended amendments are submitted to the Board for approval. They can be reached at PersonnelComm@honestweight.coop.
• Requested the addition of the Co-op's "Airborne Infectious Disease Exposure Prevention Plan".
• Updated the rules regarding the clocking and reporting requirements of employees working "off the clock".
• Recommended a "Bridging of Service" for rehired employees, the retention of seniority status for the purposes of accrual of PTO.
ownership drive. Orientation sessions were attended by 81 people, up from an average of 25 over the previous months. Of those attendees, 56 joined and many stated interest in investing time. We feel it was a big success, and are planning to hold another drive before the busy holiday season.
• The committee continued to offer orientations for new member-owners. Presenters met to streamline the process and ensure that they were all touching upon the same points when running their orientations.
Serves to evaluate the merits of proposed Bylaws changes and to draft proposed amendments for consideration and possible approval by the Membership. They can be reached at BLP@honestweight.coop.
The purpose of the Governance Review Council ("GRC") is to promote good gover nance, which in the context of HWFC means encouraging robust democratic, cooperative processes and structures in order to facilitate fair and open decision-making at all levels of HWFC. They can be reached at GRC@honestweight.coop.
Serves to keep the Board and member-owners informed of the Co-op’s financial condition. They can be reached at email@example.com.
Our newest ad-hoc committee, consisting of member-owners and staff, was formed to advise the Board of Directors on Long Range Planning. The committee's first order of business is a Shopper Satisfaction Survey, which is underway and will be complet ed in 2022. The committee can be reached at LongRangePlanComm@honestweight.coop
• Renamed and clarified the "Unpaid Personal Sabbatical".
•Changes to the Employee Manual will be published to a new currently dated version which will then post to the Honest Weight website on the "Commit tees of the Board" page as well as the HR portal. Physical copies will be readily available to staff.
It's right there in the first sentence of our mission state ment: "providing the commu nity with affordable, high quality natural foods..."
This year, we focused deeply on bringing the word afford able to life. In January, we became the first grocery store in the Capital Region to offer Double Up Food Bucks, a healthy foods incentive program that provides SNAP shoppers with a dollar-for-dol lar match on fresh, whole produce! In the first 6 months, nearly 700 shoppers signed up for the program, each with the potential to bring home up to $20 in free fresh produce every single day!
As a result of these efforts, and also in part due to increased SNAP participation nation-wide, our SNAP sales numbers rose to an all-time high of over $682,000 and 2.39% of sales.
Double Up Food Bucks are also accepted at community partners Capital Roots and the Schenectady Greenmarket. We look forward to helping spread the program throughout the Capital Region in the coming years!
ith a little extra effort, there is almost always a cost savings when you shop in our Bulk Department. That effort includes bringing your own containers or jars from home and remembering to get the PLU, which doesn’t seem like such a heavy lift when you think about the cost to the environment when you buy packaged goods.
We shopped for some go-to items in Bulk and Grocery to do the comparison: peanut butter, whole wheat flour, garbanzo beans, granola, and fig cookies (absolutely an essential!). When we compared the numbers, quantity for quantity, there was an overall cost savings of $4, which may not seem like a whole lot. And then we took a look at the garbage created. Both the cereal and fig cook ies come with two layers of packaging, the flour bag is not recycla ble. Washing the plastic peanut butter jar to render it clean enough to recycle wastes an incredible amount of water (a precious resource that is in increas ingly limited supply).
We’ve got one of the largest Bulk Departments on the east coast, with many unusual or hard-to-find items and all of the basic pantry essen tials, where you can buy as much or little as you need, which always helps reduce waste and save money in the long run.
The following are ingredients that Co-op Membership has decided not to sell because they contradict the principles of health for people and the planet on which the Co-op was founded.
Artificial Food Coloring
Artificial Preservatives and Additives
BHA (Butylated Hydroxyanisole)
BHT (Butylated Hydroxytoluene)
Nitrites and Propionates
PFCs (Perfluorinated Compounds)
PFOS (Perfluorooctane Sulfonic Acid)
Saccharin (Sweet N’ Low)
Products from Cows that are given HormonesGrowth
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Hydrogenated Oil (Trans Fat)
Inhumane Products Tobacco
GMO Farmed Fish
Seafood on the Seafood Watch Avoid List
To view our full Food and Product Manual, visit:
When you buy this stuff packaged, you spend
hat does the word "local" mean? Nationwide, "local" can mean anywhere from a 100 to 400 mile radius, or even the entire continental US! So what's Honest Weight's number?
A 250-mile radius defines local at the co-op, and a 100-mile radius constitutes hyper-local. When buyers decide what products deserve shelf space, priori ty is almost always given to hyper-local vendors, then local, and then regional.
Money that is spent locally, stays local. The American Independent Business Alliance tells us that for every $100 spent at a local business, about $68 remains in the local econo my, while only $43 of each $100 spent at a chain retailer stays local. It's called the Local Multiplier Effect — independent, locally-owned businesses recirculate a far greater percentage of revenue locally.
Our co-op's local assortment includes an abundance of products and produce from right here in the Capital Region and the Hudson Valley. Check out that cluster of dots on page 17! We offer all co-op owners a 5% discount on local products to encourage shoppers to support their neighbors. Our Communi
ty Action programs and charitable always prioritize hyper-local causes and organiza tions with local roots, with exceptions for occasional causes near to our hearts, like World Central Kitch en's chefs on the front lines in Ukraine this year.
Most importantly, ALL of our 174 employees, and our 10,533 owners live and work right here. And when we all care about supporting locals, the effect really multiplies. Chances are that your favorite farmers and favorite family-owned restaurant owners are regular co-op patrons. And chances are that co-op staff and owners regularly patronize their restaurants and might even have a CSA at their farms! Talk about a multiplier effect!
From the core, we're truly homegrown.Seth Jacobs from Slack Hollow Farm Argyle, NY
his was a year of getting back out into the community in a big way, as well as inviting people back into the co-op for the events, classes, and workshops that are essential to the essence of Honest Weight.
It's impossible to list all of the ways the co-op's Community Action shows up across the Capital Region. We're out there working with so many fantastic local organizations in so many ways, some times behind the scenes and often front and center. These partnerships have been cultivated throughout our 46 years and continue to grow, especially this year, as in-person events have really geared back up.
We're especially excited about a few things that happened this year. For the first time, we were a major sponsor of the African American Cultural Center's Juneteenth Celebration. We were proud to regularly provide food for Breakfast with Grand Street Community Arts. We expanded our partner ship with the Capital Region Vegan Network in so many ways, including as a premier sponsor for Veg Out in Troy. We continued regular fundraising and weekly contributions of fresh homemade food to the Free Food Fridge at the Free School on Elm St. We showed up to support chefs on the frontlines in Ukraine with a Sunflower Sale, a Cupcake Sale, and a Ukrainian Cooking Class. Our beloved Dust Bunnies saw their best sales year ever, raising $4,674 for local animal organizations. The list goes on and on. Where do you want to see us next? Let us know! Email Amy, the co-op's Community Relations Specialist, at Amy@honestweight.coopCarver Community Center Check Presentation Ceremony
Where to begin? A longtime co-op member-owner, wellness department staffer, resident artist & creative, I.T. helper, face painter, local art legend, teacher, and friend to all. Nina's been wanting to get her hands on this wall for years, and oh my, did she deliver. A magical secret garden & pollinator haven,
Artist, educator, and all-around awesome human. If you read last year's Annual Report, you learned all about the masterpiece Jade & her Amplified Voices students gifted us outside the co-op. This year, we invited Jade to create her own masterpiece, front and center in the produce department. You can find Jade's art all around the Capital Region, and you can also catch her hosting 'A House For Arts' each Wednesday at 7:30 pm on WMHT!
Follow Jade on Instagram at:
The Renaissance was a fervent period of European cultural, artistic, political and economic “rebirth” following the Middle Ages. The trials and tribulations of the year 2020 called for our own Renaissance of the arts. We're filling our blank spaces with art. All of them, one by one. Here are the beautiful people who are helping us bring this vision to life, one wall at a time!
featuring herbs & mushrooms found in the products sold beneath it. Most days of the week, you'll find Nina engaged in deep conversation just below her mural — be sure to stop and say hi!
Hannah deserves a lot of credit for actually beginning the artistic renaissance at the co-op! Technically, she painted our bike lockers in 2020, but we didn't give her proper credit in last year's Annual Report. Hannah came to us through our longtime partnership with Albany Center Galler ies (shoutout to Tony) and once the co-op commu nity saw her vision come to life, putting art everywhere became a top priority! Longtime upstate NY muralist, Hannah's subject matter leans toward empow ering women in many forms, shapes, sizes, and atmospheres.
International art legend now based right here in Albany at the Barn, Lexi can often be found lighting up the aisles of the co-op with her infectious smile! We asked Lexi to create an entryway piece that captures the essence of the co-op. You'll find homages to every department, and to the Capital District itself. Atop it all, you read "All Are Welcome," also written on the bottom in Manda rin, Arabic, Hebrew, and Spanish, four of the most commonly spoken languages in the area.Follow Nina on Instagram at: @artistic.anatomist Follow Hannah on Instagram at: @hanwilliamsart Follow Lexi on Instagram at: @lexihannahart
e were beyond excited to invite people back to the store for a wide range of events, classes, and workshops that are such a huge part of what makes Honest Weight unique. The response has been incredibly warm and we’re so grateful to our teachers and the community for showing up. We really missed you and it’s great to have you here!
We missed sharing meals with you too, so we introduced several “pop-up” food events where vendors came from near and far to sell yummy specialty items to our shoppers in a festive atmosphere, as well as some fun and free chef demos that were fantastic.
The spring saw the return of the popular LoV (Love of Vegan) Potluck hosted by the Capital Region Vegan Network, a series of monthly wellness lectures by local chiropractor, Dr. Rhiannon Clauss, adult art classes with Selena, lunchtime meditation, Crystal Sound Healing, and Vegetable Love Spells by Studio HaliBey. We welcomed our younger cooperators (and their caretakers) to grab a passport for Around the World Cuisine for Kids, a monthly class that explores food from different cultures.
The community spaces were once again filled with the sounds of music when we welcomed back our Fearless Fretters, Folk Guitar and Ukulele, and started a new Music Jam twice a month on Thursdays. We were thrilled to be the winter home of the Albany Drumming Circle and have member-owners Cynthia Mumford and Roger Allen host our beloved Open Mic in an open-air pavilion at the Schodack Island State Park where people could enjoy the surroundings.
There is SO much more to come! We hope you’ll continue to take advantage of the wide range of quality free/low-cost educational programming that we will continue to offer each month. See you soon!
n a close collaboration between Education and the Environment Committee, this year saw the start of a monthly workshop focused specifically on environmen tal ly-friendly topics called “What Do We Do.” The events, which all take place on the first Thursday of every month, have spanned from learning how to plarn (using old plastic bags to make a new bag), to incorporating zero waste practic es at home and making your own natural cleaning supplies, with more exciting new topics lined up for next year.
On February 3, 2022 “What Do We Do about Plastics Recycling” was held via Zoom to an unprece dented number of attendees. The discussion centered on “Plastics Recycling in the Capital Region
and Beyond: Myths vs. Markets” and featured an impressive panel of experts from NYSAR3, the Town of Bethlehem, Resource Recycling Systems, and Twin Bridges Waste & Recycling, with technology provided by the Syracuse University Center for Sustainable Community Solutions. The link is available on our website for anyone interested.
The co-op held its first (in a very long time) clothing swap event in May. Introduced on a small scale to see how it was received, and powered by an incredible crew of organized member-owners, we were blown away by the positive response.
The plan was simple: invite people to donate up to ten clean, gently-used items the week prior, arrange and display them, and then open the doors to EVERY
ONE to come and “shop” for free the day of the event, with no limits.
We invited local writer and artist, Ruth Ann Smalley to join us with tips on how to “Mend and Extend” your clothing, as well as natural dyeing techniques. And, in the end, all of the extra clothing was given to GrassRoots Givers, a local organization that will pass them on to individuals in need.
It felt great to provide an opportunity for people to clean out the clutter in their closets, give items new life, keep clothing out of landfills, and offer a sustainable way to acquire new clothes. It really feels like we’re on to something great, so with great enthusiasm, we scheduled two more swaps for July and October 2022!
In our 2019-2020 Annual Report, we reported an average weekly customer count pre-COVID of 13,100 and post-COVID of 8,490. Looking at this year's numbers, things have moved toward normalcy, but we're still down about 3,000 customers per week from our pre-COVID norms. Thankfully, basket size has moved almost perfectly in-sync with customer count, and as a result, we've maintained steady sales. Shopping patterns, work life, and personal life have changed for many people, perhaps perma nently. It's a delicate balance and your support is more important than ever!