Vote Maria Rosa write-in candidate Lexington Co-op
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 Buffalo City Express News

Vote Maria Rosa write-in candidate Lexington Co-op

October 12, 2015
Vote Maria Rosa "write-in" candidate Lexington Co-op Board of Directors
Vote Maria Rosa "write-in" candidate Lexington Co-op Board of Directors
I'm running as a "write-in" candidate for one of the three seats on the board of directors of the Lexington Co-op located on Elmwood Avenue in the City of Buffalo.

The Lexington Co-op board of directors election is in progress now. There are three vacant seats in a 9-member board. Seven candidates are running, it includes two incumbents. My name is not on the ballot, but there is a space for you to write in my name.

Mail in the ballots you received in the mail, pick one up at the store, or come to the annual dinner meeting on Wednesday, October 28, 6-8PM vote here. RSVP for the dinner.

Through the years as the Co-op continued to transform itself, the mission changed since it was founded back in 1972 when it first opened on Lexington Avenue on the West side in the City of Buffalo. Also, in the University District on Main Street there was another Co-op and one in Allentown. I do recall visiting the site in North Buffalo.

I joined in 1982, after I married Carl R. Allen (1956-1999), a reporter at the Buffalo News already a member and we joined as a family.

Member-owners back then worked cooperatively as volunteers and got a discount for this labor. We put in hours as individuals, families and formed groups that would meet to cut the block of different cheese sold at the store. I remember coming in with my daughter to cull through the produce.

We formed a different community of member-owners back then and met more often to discuss issues about Co-op and other interests of the member-owners.

After we moved to the new location at 807 Elmwood Avenue member-owners were informed by the management of the Co-op, it had to discontinue the member-owner volunteer hours for discounts.

They said it had something to do with the Department of Labor, and we became fully staffed with paid employees and increasing management team on a different pay scale with benefits, creating less of a cooperative and more of a hierarchical store structure.

The Co-op prides itself in saying:

"Our BIG Direction" it is called today
"... is our plan to bring our values to life by fostering or creating a thriving co-op in every community that wants one. Lexington wants to be at the forefront of a community empowered by kindness, knowledge and generosity, a thriving cooperative economy, easy access to local and sustainable food solutions and environmental sustainability. The opening of our second store is our next step in working toward that goal."

How times have changed today member-owners don't volunteer at the store for discounts instead it's a benefit provided to the employees. The discounts we member-owners receive as patronage dividends are minuscule most going back to the Co-op.

Although there are store discounts for member-owners, still the prices could be more affordable, especially now as food prices are rocketing, coupled with the City of Buffalo continuously listed among the top four poorest cites in America with 30 % or more residents living below the poverty level and over 50% are children.

So here is why I want your vote. I've been a member-owner for 33 years invested in the Elmwood store when we were called upon to invest in the move and would like to ensure it continues to serve member-owners to provide us first a real stake in the ownership of the Co-op, particularly more so now as it expands to a new location.
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