Bushwick food co-op calls on neighbors to rebuild after fire

July 17, 2019 Kelly Mena
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A North Brooklyn food co-op is looking to rebuild after suffering damage from a fire earlier this month, launching an online fundraising effort in a bid to jump-start the recovery process.

The Bushwick Food Cooperative was forced to shutter following a trash fire on July 3 that caused damage to the façade and ceiling of the building, which is known as “The Loom.” According to fire marshals, the blaze started around 4:30 a.m. and was extinguished by 5 a.m.

“The fire entered the store and damaged the ceiling by the window, but the building sprinklers came on and the fire department was able to break open the gate and doors to the store to get in and put anything else out,” Sarah Overholt, vice president of the co-op’s board of directors, told the Brooklyn Eagle.

The co-op, located at 1087 Flushing Ave., is hoping to raise $60,000 to help cover the initial costs of the damage, including replacement of inventory and structural repairs. As of Wednesday afternoon, the donation page had raised $2,836.

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“We are very hopeful that we will be able to re-open within a month or so,” added Overholt in her statement to the Eagle.

Bushwick Food Co-Op Closed Sign. Photo Courtesy of BFC

Current co-op owners and regular shoppers are feeling the brunt of the closure as they are forced to find alternative suppliers of ethically conscious food.

“I have felt very lost without the co-op as my pantry, having shopped there almost exclusively for three years,” said Laurel Garnett, BFC’s sourcing manager. “I have stopped buying some products, like bananas, as I have been unable to find an ethical brand locally.”

Other food cooperatives have rallied around the business, including Greene Hill and Park Slope, who have made donations and have allowed for the Bushwick co-op owners to shop at their stores in the interim period.

“They have truly acted on our cooperative principles …’cooperation among cooperatives.’ We are very grateful and will be working together with them as we move forward,” added Overholt in her statement to the Eagle.

The food market first opened in the spring of 2010 and touts itself as a healthy, responsibly sourced and reasonably priced food partnership that supports farmers and companies that supply ethical and sustainable food, according to its website.

The local business plans to hold a “Fire Sale” today, selling the remaining inventory for additional funds and support from the local community.

“The community response has been so overwhelming and support has been very moving and inspiring. The fire may have damaged our storefront, but it also has strengthened our commitment and brought us all closer together,” said Fran Sanhueza, BFC’s General Manager to the Eagle.

The Bushwick Food Co-op “Fire Sale” is slated for 4-7 p.m. on July 17 at 1087 Flushing Ave. 

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