One member calls the Twin Pines Coop "The Little Engine that Could." Thirty-four years ago it was a grocery store. While essentially utilizing the same small space of 2,000 square feet on the first floor of the Mertz building across from the town dock on lower Main Street with an entrance on Prospect Avenue, the coop branched out into many other community areas. The coop also celebrates another important anniversary that illustrates the above reference; one year ago on Jan. 22, a frozen pipe in the floor above broke and flooded the coop with two feet of water. Everything in the front of the store was ruined, and a large construction project rebuilt the store months later. Edna Turner, the director of Twin Pines, feels it is close to miraculous that the coop has recovered. The public as well as the membership is invited to a large celebration in May, one year from when the coop store reopened.
But the coop never stopped its other functions, even without its physical plant. The food that is donated every day for needy people was stored in the Twin Pines truck for next day delivery. The food is now stored in the pantry area of the store. Long Island Harvest and private donors contribute non-perishable goods that the coop delivers to 15 different worthy groups such as the Port Washington Senior Citizens Club, St. Peter's Outreach and Unitarian Universalist Outreach.
In 1979 Twin Pines Consumer Association was organized and incorporated in the State of New York as a nonprofit educational association. Twin Pines offers work experience programs for the handicapped and seniors as well as workshops for consumers on related subjects. Those interested in learning Kayaking can participate in lessons at a reduced rate for coop members at the Tully Pool. Kayak excursions meet regularly at the town dock organized by the coop when the weather is warmer. A major regatta in July is being organized. The Kayaking Club meetings resume in February every Tuesday 7:30 to 9 p.m. at the Mertz Community Center.
The coop also accepts donations for its thrift shop and bookshelf. The proceeds aid their training and outreach programs. All types of items are available for sale and accepted as donations.
Membership in Twin Pines is open to all individuals and households who have an interest and want to buy food at reduced prices. There is a small annual dues required and at least an hour a month of volunteer work which can be done at home or at the store. Call Edna Turner at 883-9777 for more information.