It seems like only yesterday when Fare & Square opened a grocery store in Chester with the distinguishing feature of being the only non-profit grocery store in the United States. The concept interested cities across the country as representatives visited Fare & Square to see if they could duplicate the model in communities similar to Chester.

Former Philabundance CEO Bill Clark who brought us Fare & Square with former Chester Mayor John Linder on opening day in 2013

I first learned of Fare & Square closing its doors from a small blurb in The Spirit newspaper. I drove past and saw most of the Fare & Square signage was already down. I visited the store today and chatted with store manager Michael Basher to get a few more details on the transition.

Michael says the store will not close at all. Cousin’s will take over operations the very next day Fare & Square leaves. Current employees for Fair & Square will be interviewed by Cousin’s to apply for positions in the new store.

If you were a frequent shopper at Fare & Square and used the Purple Carrot savings card, any money you can redeem must be used by May 12. The store is changing hands on May 21.

The brain child of Fare & Square was Philabundance’s CEO Bill Clark. Not long after the store opened, he was replaced. In my opinion, the new Philabundance CEO didn’t share the same vision and commitment to Fare & Square as Bill Clark did. However, the local staff who managed and worked at the store did an amazing job serving the Chester community.

Locals felt the store location on the far west side of the city would have been better supported if it was more centrally located. The store never seemed to be embraced by enough Chester shoppers, but a lot of folks are never satisfied unless they shop at a large name brand grocery store.

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The ribbon cutting when Fare & Square brought on produce grown at the community garden in the Bennett Homes public housing development


Fare & Square were great community partners. I hate to see them go. Let’s hope Cousin’s can continue to fill the void of providing Chester a full service grocery store and support the community, too.