I Just Solved Brunswick’s Grocery Problem

I am one of the roughly 6,000 folks that lives in the small town of Brunswick, Maryland. I can see the Potomac River and hear the purr of the diesel locomotives from my front porch. The C&O Canal Towpath Trail is a mile from my house. The people here are friendly and creative and interesting. I love being a part of this community.

A while ago our local grocery store Super Fresh announced that it would be closing it’s Brunswick location. The Brunswick store was acquired by Natural Markets Food Group and the store was re-branded as Fresh & Green’s. The new owners promised to improve the store. After a short time history repeated itself as it sometimes does. Natural Markets Food Group announced that it would be closing it’s Brunswick location. This time there was no buyer. Fresh & Green’s closed, a dozen or so folks lost their jobs and Brunswick was without a grocery store. Like the rest of Brunswick, I am now driving 20+ minutes to Frederick (or elsewhere) to get my groceries.

I set out to do what any red-blooded 21st century American would do in this situation…complain about it on Facebook. As it turns out Facebook is the perfect venue for complaining about stuff. I soon discovered that I wasn’t the only one complaining. The (lack of a) grocery store in Brunswick became the topic of the year over at the Brunswick MD Facebook Group. Ideas were shared. Folks argued over which grocery store was the best fit for Brunswick. Folks criticized and mocked each other’s choices and ideas. At one point I even took to mocking the people that were mocking people.

Well as it turns out complaining about stuff and talking smack does absolutely nothing to solve a problem.

Meanwhile across the Potomac River in Lovettsville something interesting is happening. Some folks in our sister community started the Lovettsville Cooperative Market. I resisted joining for a few reasons. For one, they didn’t have a store yet. The second reason was…well, it cost money.

As the months, the drives to Frederick for groceries and the Facebook hate-a-thon dragged on I couldn’t shake the feeling that if I could channel this energy in the right direction then I could actually contribute to solving the problem. Sure, the co-op was a dream…but if enough people dreamed together then it would actually happen. So I changed my mind. I am now a member of the Lovettsville Cooperative Market.

If you want to continue complaining please do so on Facebook and in the comments section below. If you are interested in solving Brunswick’s grocery problem and investing in our community then click here to learn more.

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  • Katherine Martinez Reig

    Love it!!

  • http://www.christophervigliotti.com/ Christopher Vigliotti

    Wow an actual comment on my blog…and an encouraging one at that. Thanks @katherinemartinezreig:disqus 🙂

  • Tom Wyrick

    I saw several Facebook posts about the co-op market project over in Lovettsville. I guess my question is, how exactly does this work? The “co-ops” I’m familiar with (several of them run by farms in or around the Poolesville, MD area where I live now) usually have arrangements where you pay for big boxes of fruits and veggies (and possibly some meat too?) that are pre-packed with some kind of assortment. I’m sure they’re a good value, but none of them have been practical for our particular family situation. Frankly, we’re always looking for a lot of things like frozen dinners that can be taken to work and microwaved in a few minutes to eat there, misc. cleaning supplies or paper goods, yogurt, cheeses, bread, and lots of other stuff that still requires a trip to some type of standard grocery store …. not just what a farm has to offer us. Not only that, but with 2 kids that are super picky eaters, a lot of fruit or vegetables would just go bad before they were eaten here, if we couldn’t pick out exactly what and how much of it to buy at a time.

    • http://www.christophervigliotti.com/ Christopher Vigliotti

      I’m not a representative of the Lovettsville Co-op, but from what I gather they are pursuing a model more like the Common Market in Frederick and less like a CSA (which is what you are describing). Thanks for your comment!