Weaver Street Market - A Home Grown Success Story|
Click here for a panoramic view inside Weaver Street Market.
Click here for Weaver Street Market live music schedule.
January 12, 2001
When Ruffin Slater left Virginia in 1977 to attend Duke University, he
had no aspirations of being an integral part of a new way to run a community owned
business. In fact, he wasn't thinking about business at all. He was studying history.
Ruffin began working at the Durham Food Co-op in 1984, where he became interested in the idea
of a natural foods store that would be owned and operated by the people who used it, the people
in the community. He and his friends Marilyn Butler (who runs the deli) and Randy Tallie (now in Maryland) became partners, and together they turned the concept into a reality in 1988. They opened Weaver Street Market in a section of the building in front of Carr Mill Mall that over the years has expanded as an entity in itself, and become a landmark and community focal point, a shining example of a small town success story.
Back in those days all of these concepts were unheard of in any Triangle community.
"The idea of a natural foods store was granola in buckets," says Slater. "We wanted something
more than that, something we could get the community involved in."
Getting the community involved is another concept that proved largely beneficial for all involved,
with Weaver Street Market sponsoring and co-sponsoring dozens of events each year
designed to provide entertainment, generally free of charge, such as Carrboro's Family Fourth
of July Celebration, Halloween "Ghost Stories Under the Stars," the Sunday Jazz brunch, and
Thursday night music jams on the lawn. Weaver Street Market also donates thousands of dollars
each year to local charities and schools.
When the idea became a success, rather than opening more stores in neighboring communities,
Weaver Street Market has kept its focus on Carrboro, recently expanding for the fourth time and growing
to twice the size of the original store. The current expansion, which is nearly complete, included
widening the store outward toward the street, using the same type of big beams that were used
in the construction of Carr Mill as supports for the outside arcade. A complete overhaul of the Cafe
was also accomplished, along with the expansion of the hot food and salad bar. Sandwiches,
cheeses, freshly baked breads, muffins, croissants, and a host of fresh and natural foods and
beverages are available here.
Panzanella, the restaurant behind Weaver Street Market in the former location of Aurora in
Carr Mill Mall, is also run by Weaver Street Market, and has been very successful in its first
year of operation. It can now be reached by a brick walkway that runs from the west entrance
of the Market around to the restaurant.
In addition to its own bakery and fresh food kitchen, Weaver Street Market offers a wide variety
of natural and locally grown products. Milk comes from Maple View Farms, two miles up the road.
Latta in Hillsborough brings in fresh eggs every day. Flour comes from Lindley Mills in Graham.
About a dozen local area farmers who sell their produce at the Carrboro Farmer's Market, also
sell to Weaver Street Market.
The idea to keep things community owned and operated has also been a huge success. Today,
more than 3,500 households are currently owner/members, along with a staff of over 50
owner/workers. Together, they make Weaver Street Market a dream come true for Ruffin Slater, as
he makes history instead of studying it.
Click here for Weaver Street Market's website.
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