Port Townsend Food Co-op fetes 20,000th member
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Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News
Bernie Del Valle, right, signs his application to be a member of the Port Townsend Food Co-op on Tuesday as his wife, Mercy, left, and co-op inventory manager Deb Shortess look on. With a stroke of his pen, Del Valle became the co-op’s 20,000th numbered member.

Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — The Food Co-op celebrated its 20,000th numbered member Tuesday, when a retired gardener and Jesuit priest decided to open a membership after shopping at the co-op for nine years.

“We've shopped here since we've moved to Port Townsend but didn't get a membership because we got the senior discount,” Bernie Del Valle said.

“We read about the co-op's 40th anniversary and decided to pay the $100 [lifetime membership fee] today.”

Del Valle said he heard about the 20,000th-member contest but did not try to attain that number on purpose.

He was given a bag full of groceries from the co-op in a durable burlap sack by Deb Shortess, inventory manager.

The co-op at 414 Kearney St. has more than 20,000 members, but some are on a different system.

The 20,000 membership represents those who joined after 1981, which was nine years after the co-op opened.

Generally, the size of the number determines how long ago the member joined, with the four-digit numbers indicating a longtime customer.

Del Valle, who was in the store with his wife, Mercy, was a priest and a teacher before moving to Port Townsend nine years ago to be closer to his son, who lives in Seattle.

“Soon I'll have been here 10 years, and then I can call myself a local,” he said.

Last modified: October 09. 2012 5:30PM
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