Update: More info from Chris Doyle of Glut in the comments. Many of us know that local businesses give back significantly more to our community and local economy than corporate stores. The next step is supporting those businesses. Both East Campus and the Cafritz developers have mentioned including local businesses in their proposed retail mix. But let’s start with one that has served our community for almost 40 years. Nick Francis of the Gateway CDC has kindly given us permission to post this piece about Glut.
Some people have expressed concern about declining sales at Glut Food Co-op in Mount Rainier. Having worked there for four years during the 1990s, Glut is very dear to my heart. Here are a few things every shopper should know. (Perhaps some of these could become the basis for a new marketing strategy or advertising campaign.)
Glut was founded in 1968 by conscientious objectors to the Viet Nam war. In lieu of military service, they told the judge, they would bring “good food to poor people.” This, remember, was at a time when the cost of food was a much higher percentage of household expenditures than it is today. They helped form buying clubs from all over: MD, DC, VA, even WV. They ran trucks to New York and Pennsylvania, buying everything wholesale. They met in church basements to divvy up the goods. (There are still a few shoppers that date back to those days and the pattern of coming once or twice a month to stock up on large quantities of basic provisions was still still strongly in evidence when I worked there.) Glut quickly outgrew church basements and in 1971 rented a space in Mount Rainier, a place early Glut documents identify only as “the warehouse.” Once people understood what was going on, they asked if Glut would open to the general public, which they did sometime in the early 1970s. Continue reading