Letter to the Editor

‘Setting the record straight’

To the Editor:

The Swarthmore Co-Op Board of Directors would like to provide relevant facts regarding our efforts to sell beer and wine in the Co-Op. We do this particularly in response to the Letter to the Editor from Patrick Flanigan in the May 25 Swarthmorean.

Transparency: The Co-Op has provided many opportunities for Member-Owners and non-owners in the Biddle tract to understand our position as well as the process we must go through to sell beer and wine. Several briefing and signing sessions were held last fall. Board members reached out by phone, personal letters, email, and in person to Biddle Tract owners to answer questions and discuss this process. There have been two annual Owners’ meetings where we presented sales and profit projections and potential costs and liabilities to undertaking this endeavor, and engaged in Q&A with all in attendance. In addition, the Board holds monthly meetings in the Community Room at Borough Hall where time is set aside specifically for Member-Owner comments. Board meetings are always open to all owners. Minutes of these meetings are available on the Co-Op website. Owners can always contact us at any time at Boardofdirectors@Swarthmore.Coop.

Transparency (b): In addition to the above opportunities for information, Mr. Flanigan has been provided the list of Biddle Tract owners; a preview copy of the letter to the owners; a copy of the release form in Word format, per his request, so that he could modify for his own purpose, and a copy of the Co-Op Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws.

Business Plan: The Co-Op Board HAS assessed the profitability of selling beer and wine, the cost to do so as well as the physical changes to the store required to be compliant with the law. This was discussed at the two annual meetings. The Board consulted an attorney regarding potential risks associated with liability and is working through the legal process to quiet the deed restriction. These facts are included in our meeting minutes. 

Liquor license: The Co-Op HAS NOT bid on or acquired a liquor license. This fact can be easily verified through The PA Liquor Control Board portal at lcb.pa.gov.

The Co-Op should not litigate on behalf of the entire Biddle Tract. The College and the Borough are not the only parties to the restrictions and it may take relief from approximately 150 property owners to fully release the restrictions. This would be a monumental undertaking with the potential for many third party disputes.

We, the Board, have been open and honest with Member-Owners about our desire to sell beer and wine and the efforts it will take to make that happen. We remain committed to resolving our issues and differences through amiable and personal discussion.

Donna Francher, President
Swarthmore Co-op Board of Directors

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