Charles River Food Co-op Marks Firsts, Looking for Locations for Store

Nick Quaranto, president of the Charles River Food Co-op board, updates members at the first annual meeting. (Photo by Charlie Breitrose)

The effort to open a food cooperative in the Watertown area reached some firsts recently, and progress toward opening a store is moving faster than other local co-ops. The Charles River Food Co-op was incorporated in April 2022, with a goal of opening a store primarily serving Watertown, Newton, and Waltham. On Nov. 14, the Charles River Food Co-op held its first annual meeting, and the organization recently held its first board election.

Charles River Food Co-Op Hosting First Annual Meeting

The following announcement was provided by the Charles River Food Co-op:

Having an annual meeting is a big part of co-op business. It is a chance for us to gather together as a community, hear about what the board is working on, find out about volunteer opportunities, and ask questions. Plus we’ll be announcing the results of this year’s board election. This year’s annual meeting will take place on November 14th at 7:30 p.m. at the Watertown Public Library, in the Watertown Savings Bank Meeting Room. We will also be offering a Zoom option, but we encourage folks to come in person if you can.

Charles River Food Co-op Holding Virtual Open House, Board Meeting

The Charles River Co-op announced it would be hosting a Board + Volunteer Open House on May 22, at 8 p.m. on Zoom. The group sent out the following information:

Are you interested in helping us out this year or running for a position on our Board of Directors? If you are a member, you are eligible to run for a board seat! We’ll be holding an Open House on Zoom on Monday May 22 at 8 p.m. if you’d like to ask questions and learn how the co-op works – and how you can help out. We’ll do a quick presentation about how the board works and volunteer opportunities, and then be open for a Q&A!

Efforts to Start Local Food Co-op Reaches Key Milestone

The Charles River Food Co-op surpassed the 500 member mark recently, and continues to work toward opening somewhere in or around Watertown. Progress has been encouraging for Nick Quaranto, president of the Co-op’s board of directors. “I haven’t seen other co-ops get to 500 as fast as we have, so I think we are really onto something,” Quaranto said. “People really understand what we are tying to do, which is great. but we are going to need more.”

LETTER: Missing Russo’s, Striving to Create Food Co-op

It’s been one year since Russo’s announced they were closing. Over 365 days have passed with our community lacking one of Boston Metro West’s best sources for produce, baked goods, and plants. As I stood in the checkout line on their last day — laden with too much cheese and veggies — my mind raced, thinking of the 200 people who would be without jobs soon, wondering why Watertown needed yet another lab facility for a biotech company instead of a market. My kids would no longer be able to prowl through the Christmas trees stacked up outside each December. My wife would need to find a replacement for the especially spicy maror (horseradish) that would make us tear up at Passover.

Charles River Food Co-op Adding Members, Seeks Accountant

The Charles River Food Co-op recently announced it has been adding members since it started offering shares, and has a goal to enable it to take the next step toward opening a food store in the Watertown area. The Co-op sent out the following information:

We now have over 300 paid members, which is very exciting! Our members come from Waltham, Watertown, Newton, and beyond. A huge THANK YOU to everyone who has already joined us. For anyone who is interested in becoming a member, you can do that here:

Shares Available for Charles River Co-op, Group Looking to Create New Food Buying Alternative

Since the closing of Russo’s market in September 2021, a group of people has been working to create a new option for grocery and food shoppers in the Watertown area. On June 15, the Charles River Food Co-op formally kicks off the sale of shares in the planned store. The co-op had a soft opening in early June, and has already sold more than 70 shares, said Nick Quaranto, interim board president of the Charles River Food Co-op. The money raised by the shares, which cost $200 each, will go toward planning and building a store in one of the communities on which the co-op is focusing: Watertown, Waltham, and Newton. Shareholders will also be able to participate in co-op elections and will receive discounts after the store opens.

New Food Co-op Looks to Fill Void of Russo’s Closing, Offering Shares

The following information was provided by the Charles River Co-op:

The Charles River Food Co-op is announcing that we will soon be accepting members! As a reminder, the impetus to create the Charles River Food Co-op was the closing of Russo’s in Watertown. We are excited about our mission and vision for this new store, which includes replicating Russo’s fresh produce and food diversity, in addition to a focus on sustainability and community. While we don’t have a store for you to shop in yet, buying a member-owner share now allows us to build the financial foundation we need to fuel the next stage of our growth and fund the eventual store opening. You are investing in the future of the Charles River Co-op and enabling us to take the next step to reach our vision. 

Our share price will be $200 – which can be paid up-front or over 8 months in increments of $25.