Equal Exchange to Buy City Feed, Create Worker-Owned Co-op Under Proposed Deal

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A proposed deal would transfer City Feed and Supply's alcohol license to Equal Exchange, which would also purchase both locations of the popular neighborhood market.

City Feed and Supply's owners Kristine Cortese and David Warner sent an email to its customers providing some details of the possible sale:

"Over the course of this year we have been in conversation with Equal Exchange, discussing the possibility of Equal Exchange purchasing City Feed and Supply. The deal is not yet complete but is progressing towards completion and we wanted to let you all know before you hear it elsewhere. We will start meeting with neighborhood groups to seek approval for transferring licensing, so the word will be getting out."

City Feed appeared at Wednesday's Jamaica Plain Business and Professional Association meeting to discuss its request to transferring its beer and wine package store license at its business located at 672 Centre St. City Feed's store at 66 Boylston St. would also be sold to Equal Exchange.

The sale is not expected to be finalized until 2020, said Warner, who quickly fielded questions from customers. Warner supplied answers to many of the questions, and he shared his answers with Jamaica Plain News.

Kristine Cortese and David Warner, co-founders of City Feed and Supply.

"Once the sale is complete, City Feed would become a worker-owned coop an all current employees would have an opportunity to apply for worker-ownership at some point in the near future," said Warner.

Headquartered in West Bridgewater, Mass., Equal Exchange is a for-profit worker-owned cooperative business. Equal Exchange distributes organic and gourmet coffee, tea and other products, including chocolate bars from farmers in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.

Warner explained why he likes the sale of the business to Equal Exchange.

"One of the reasons we are happy to make this transition is that we are confident that Equal Exchange will carry our mission and philosophy forward into the future while bringing new ideas to the table. I am planning to stay on in a managerial role for a few months after the sale is complete but eventually Equal Exchange will take over management. Their goal is for there to be as little disruption as possible.

He added that Equal Exchange is not planning to make many changes to what it sells.