Created on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 20:00
Last Updated on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 20:00
By the Rootswork board
How did we, individual volunteer members of the nonprofit Rootswork
board, all living within three miles of the East Warren Schoolhouse,
come to the agonizing decision to ask The Schoolhouse Markets to leave?
In short, we had been negotiating for a new lease with The Schoolhouse
Markets since November 2006. We needed the new lease to better protect
Rootswork from some chronic deficiencies in The Schoolhouse Markets'
performance under the old lease. We were determined that if we worked
hard enough, a business-like lease fair to both parties could be agreed
upon. We continued to believe we could make it work even after The
Schoolhouse Markets informed us of their precarious financial position,
and after the partners had had a serious falling out. We have valued
The Schoolhouse Markets' place in our community and we wanted them to
remain. Unfortunately, we learned that our good intentions and
hard work were not enough to overcome the obstacles we faced in
reaching a mutually agreeable solution.
A petition stating that Rootswork has refused to re-negotiate their
lease is circulating throughout The Valley. We considered trying to
provide a timeline in this letter of the nine months of innumerable
meetings, letters, and emails that transformed our belief in a positive
outcome to a unanimous agreement in July that we couldn't offer The
Schoolhouse Markets a term lease of any kind. We determined that it was
impossible in a few paragraphs to describe such a complex and
protracted process. Furthermore, we feel that a newspaper is not the
place for us to discuss lease negotiations.
We do want the community to understand that we began with all good
intentions to continue our relationship with The Schoolhouse Markets
and that our decision to sever that association was made only after a
very long, agonizing and stressful nine months and only after it became
apparent to us that we no longer had a workable and trusting business
relationship with The Schoolhouse Markets. These insurmountable
problems have convinced us that The Schoolhouse Markets' continued
tenancy is not in the best interests of Rootswork. We express our deep
regret that the long association between Rootswork and The Schoolhouse
Markets is ending and we wish both Bruce Fowler and Linda Faillace all
Each of us joined the Rootswork board because we wanted to work on one
or more Rootswork projects: the community gardens, the continued
renovation and development of the East Warren Schoolhouse as a
community resource, Farm to Schools, educational programs and WMRW.
We're not lawyers or landlords or public relations experts, just local
people wanting to do something for our community. We have an obligation
to Rootswork, the community, and ourselves to begin to focus all our
attention where it belongs -- on the projects that advance our mission.
While nothing has been settled yet on how the first floor will be used,
we have a lot of ideas. We want the space to revert back to community
use. One concept we are working on is a co-op to provide staples,
locally grown food, and more.
Please feel free to contact us individually if you have questions
concerning this difficult decision or come to a Rootswork board
meeting, first Wednesday of the month, 5:30 p.m. at the East Warren
John Barkhausen, Michael Brodeur, Kate Burn, Carol Groom, Jen Higgins, Megan Moffroid, Stacy Werner.