A Celebration of Cooperation for 30 Years at Tidal Creek Co-op
by Christina McKenzie
with Autumn Beam
“Robert Holst stumbled upon the store by accident and eventually became an active member,” states UNCW Public History graduate, Autumn Beam in her research titled, “Small Beginnings: The History of Community Building at Tidal Creek Cooperative Food Market.” One of Tidal Creek’s earliest owners, artist of multiple Tidal Creek logos and signs, and current owner of Re-eco on Oleander Drive beside Tidal Creek, Robert goes on to say, “Well I guess it was 1982. I was living right across the street on Wrightsville Avenue and it looked like a little country store, little building, you know. I just walked over there one day and found it very interesting. It was kind of like a throw back in time. And it seemed very comfortable… the vibes were good, you know. And just the community too, meeting people with the same like mind, who are searching for something not so shiny and packaged.” Robert’s wife, Mary, added, “I think that through the Co-op, probably the most important thing to me is my lifelong friends that I met at the Co-op. I had no idea that 30 years later these would still be my closest friends.”
The Holst family who still lives next door, are joined by countless families across our region who found community, friendship, and ownership at Tidal Creek Co-op throughout the years. As we celebrate the anniversary of 30 years as our region’s only retail food cooperative, we cherish our community of friends and value the opportunity to continue to serve their needs. Since our beginnings as a bulk buying club in the late 70’s, to our cooperative incorporation on July 2nd, 1982, to the operation we are today; we continue to expand and grow while maintaining our commitment to the community, providing the quality goods and services Co-op shoppers trust they’ll find.
30 years deserves some serious celebration! So we’re spreading the span of our 30 years over all 30 days of June, aptly tagged “30 YEARS IN 30 DAYS.” Every day from May 31st through June 30th, you’ll find a daily deal in honor of that day’s year throughout our three decades. For instance, May 31st kicks off the month-long celebration with 1982: Newman’s Own Organics began that year; so you you’ll find Newman’s Own cookies on sale all day on May 31st. Come again on June 1st to celebrate 1983 and we’ll have a new special savings, sample, or freebie. And so on and so forth… through to 2012 on June 30th.
That’s when the celebration skyrockets, with the most epic party Tidal Creek Co-op has ever seen. We call it “30 YEARS ON THE 30TH.” The party is Saturday June 30th, 12noon to 6pm, on the lawn under the big tents – and everyone is invited.
There will be hot food, cold drink, live music, lawn games, a veggie dog eating contest, talk of a “best beard” contest, local organizations, cooperative speakers and storytellers, community vendors and networkers … it’s everything and everyone you love about Tidal Creek Co-op in one place, on one day, at one time.
This party will also serve as a launching pad for our newest expansion. We are building a bridge to cross the lawn and connect the parking lots, and construction is scheduled to complete just in time for the party! Our new walkway will also feature a patio deck, mid-way across the lawn, to function as added outdoor seating and also serve as a stage for events and education. So you can bet we’ll enjoy music from the bands on our new sound stage for “30 YEARS ON THE 30TH.”
Most importantly, we hope that each of you who contributed to the celebrated success of Tidal Creek Co-op will feel recognized and acknowledged, as our younger generation of Wilmington cooperators gains an appreciation of the community of friends we have shared from year to year. Co-ops across the world recognize their respective owner communities in 2012 International Year of Cooperatives, and we are so proud of ours for realizing a cooperative option so long ago, providing a source for natural foods in our area, where before there was none. As we welcome new food retailers to town, we hope you will celebrate the Co-op as the place where it all began for our community. Tidal Creek Co-op truly is “locally grown, community owned!”