Our History

1972 – East End Food Buying Club

1972 – East End Food Buying Club

Point Breeze residents David & Rodah Zarembka were impressed by their experience with “buying clubs” in Philadelphia and decided to start one in the basement

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1978 – Open to Everyone

As the East End Food Buying Club grew, it opened both a retail storefront and a supply company in a warehouse at 5474 Penn Avenue

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1980 – EEFC Incorporates

1980 – EEFC Incorporates

On June 16, 1980, the East End Food Co-op officially incorporated as a domestic nonprofit cooperative corporation under the District of Columbia Cooperative Association Act.

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1985 – Pittsburgh’s Only Cooperative Grocer

In January of 1985, the Semple Street Food Co-operative Association closed its doors and encouraged its members to join what was now Pittsburgh’s only cooperatively-owned

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1986 – Move to The Factory

1986 – Move to The Factory

As the eighties progressed, EEFC outgrew the Garfield warehouse space and became one of the first tenants of “The Factory”, a building which formerly housed

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1989 – The Co-operator

1989 – The Co-operator

Volunteer members, at that time known as “skillsworkers” launch The Co-operator newsletter. Initially a sporadic bulletin, by 1992 the “Voice of the East End Food

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1990 – Co-op Café Celebrates Grand Opening

1990 – Co-op Café Celebrates Grand Opening

In April of 1990, the Co-op Café celebrated its grand opening, boasting a “most unique, multifaceted vegetarian menu including vegan delights, wheat free alternatives, macrobiotic

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1993 – East End Food Co-op Credit Union

EEFC members gained another member benefit when the EEFC Federal Credit Union opened its doors to members residing in Allegheny and Westmoreland counties on November

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1995 – Profit and Expansion Planning

As early as 1993, the Board of Directors started considering expansion opportunities for a more “user-friendly” space based on member and staff feedback that “shelf

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1998 – “Membership Appreciation Day”

July 11 – EEFC held an event called “Membership Appreciation Day”. The store conducted a sampling of many products and gave members 10% discount on

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1999 – Capital Campaign

1999 – Capital Campaign

After 18 months of actively searching for a new store location, EEFC Board and Management identified the ground level west end of The Factory as

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2000 – Expansion

2000 – Expansion

In January, EEFC signed for a small loan from PNC and signed a new lease for the space immediately adjacent to its current store, essentially

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2003 – New Levels of Member Engagement

2003 – New Levels of Member Engagement

In order to allow greater member knowledge and participation in donations to community non-profit organizations, the Co-op instituted the One Percent Wednesdays Every fourth Wednesday

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2004 – National Cooperative Movement

EEFC and 100 other food co-ops, previously organized into regional Cooperative Grocer Associations, joined together to form the National Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA). Pooling their

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2005 – Local Partners Program

2005 – Local Partners Program

In an effort to support local neighborhood businesses in the face competition from national “big box” stores, and to provide another useful benefit to its

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2006 – Major Technological Innovation

2006 – Major Technological Innovation

In September 2006, a major efficiency upgrade occurred – the installation of a Point-of-Sale (POS) system. This computerized register system enabled staff to price our

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2006 – Art Harvest

2006 – Art Harvest

While the Co-op hosted several summer street events over the years, including a Grand Opening Picnic for the new storefront and the Summer Wellness Festival,

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2008 – Cooperative Discussion Course

The EEFC Board published a manual for community self-directed education entitled, “A Discussion Course on Cooperatives.” This self-directed study course entailed short readings and discussion

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2008 – No more plastic bags

Ahead of its time, EEFC stopped providing blue plastic bags for shoppers, in an effort to promote reuse, eliminate waste, and to mitigate the environmental

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2008 – Co-op Community Fund

2008 – Co-op Community Fund

The Twin Pines Cooperative Foundation matched earmarked revenue from EEFC for the development of a “Co-op Community Fund.” The purpose was to award grants to

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2009 – Sustainable Agriculture Business Leader

2009 – Sustainable Agriculture Business Leader

EEFC was named the 2009 “Sustainable Agriculture Business Leader” by the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture, in recognition of “outstanding contributions of health, well-being and

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2009 – CCMA Host

EEFC was selected to host the 53rd Annual Consumer Cooperative Management Association conference, bringing together more than four hundred participants from nearly seventy co-ops, providing

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2009 – Seeds of Justice Award

2009 – Seeds of Justice Award

Anti-hunger non-profit Just Harvest honored the Co-op with the “Seeds of Justice Award” for leadership in social and economic justice at the 21st Annual Harvest

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2010 – Co-founding Pittsburgh Food Policy Council

2010 – Co-founding Pittsburgh Food Policy Council

The Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, a collaborative advisory organization committed to working with City residents and officials to develop food and urban agriculture policy, is

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2010 – Jefferson Award for Volunteerism

2010 – Jefferson Award for Volunteerism

In recognition for twenty years of dedicated volunteer service, Bill Wekselman was honored with the Jefferson Award, a prize given each year to individuals from

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2012 – Bicycle Friendly Business

2012 – Bicycle Friendly Business

The League of American Bicyclists acknowledged EEFC with a Bicycle Friendly Business Bronze Award, based on our expansive outdoor bike parking, indoor bike parking and

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2012 – 10,000 Members!

EEFC grows to be 10,000 active household memberships strong! In celebration, Martin Scanlan and his family were awarded with a gift certificate and cupcakes at

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2013 – Register Round Up

2013 – Register Round Up

The Register Round Up program debuts, replacing the donation programs formerly known as 1% Wednesdays, and later 5% Wednesdays. Rather than allocating a percentage of

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2014 – Volunteer Program Ends

2014 – Volunteer Program Ends

In the process of accessing the feasibility of expanding the volunteer program to include off-site opportunities, it became clear to EEFC board and management that

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2015 – 412 Food Rescue Partnership

2015 – 412 Food Rescue Partnership

A partnership is forged with 412 Food Rescue, a local non-profit working to end hunger and eliminate food waste by utilizing a network of volunteers

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2016 – Co-op Staff Unionize

2016 – Co-op Staff Unionize

On September 21, 2015, the East End Food Co-op staff voted to be represented by the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America (UE).

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2016 – Co+op Kids Free Fruit Program Launch

The Co-op introduces a free fruit program called Co+op Explorers (now Co+op Kids). Children who sign up for the free program receive one free piece

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