Home > Uncategorized > A Magic Bus Ride into Wheatsville’s Future

A Magic Bus Ride into Wheatsville’s Future

This article was published first in the July/August 2012 issue of the Wheatsville Breeze newspaper. I served on the Wheatsville Co-op’s board of directors from 1994 to 2009 – most years as board chair. During that time our board adopted policy governance, oversaw Wheatsville’s 2008-09 renovation, helped mentor Black Star Co-op’s birth a few miles north of us and – most notably – hired GM Dan Gillotte.

Words and Photos Bob Kinney

Wheatsville staffers and board members gathered in our parking lot after the store closed at 11pm on May 24 to see where our co-op is headed.

Eighty-eight folks settled into two charter buses for a ride to Wheatsville’s second store location with hardly any of us knowing where we were going.

It was such a Wheatsville Moment. While other stores would announce such news via media and then staff let know, our WV event planning team wanted the folks who make our co-op run every day to know ahead of the general public where the second Wheatsville would be.

Thanks to GM Dan Gillotte, Beth Ley, Human Resources Manager, and Raquel Dadomo, Brand Manager, for planning such a fun and historic moment in Wheatsville’s 36-year history.

As our bus headed south and crossed Lady Bird Lake it was obvious our new location would be in South Austin. For decades scores of 78704 owners have urged Wheatsville to open a South store (Hey to my former board colleague Jane Cravey and other 78704-ers).

During my service as Wheatsville’s board chair, the Travis Heights Neighborhood Association, for example, wanted us to open a store in what now houses the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema South Lamar. The location was too pricey for us at the time.

Gathering onto the buses at Wheatsville – Bus One below On The Road

Arriving at the new location – thanks to Bus One Driver Emilio Vasquez who worked at Wheatsville in the early 1980s

Peeking inside

Back to the Magic Midnight Bus Ride – Niki Nash, Merchandising Manager, and Beth Ley were captains of Bus One and Two, respectively. Emilio Vasquez, our Bus One driver, told Niki he worked for Wheatsville in the early 1980s. What a Nice Co-op Circle!

Our bus passed the Broken Spoke and a few blocks later turned east and then entered behind an enormous building. We came around in front of the building and there we were – the new home for Wheatsville in the Lamar Oaks Plaza at 4001 South Lamar and Highway 290.

What a Perfect Location! The building is about double the size of our Guadalupe space with a seeming ocean of parking around it and a bus stop in front. While 4001 Wheatsville will serve folks now living in South Austin, we will welcome the thousands of new residents in five condo/apartment complexes being built along South Lamar from the Alamo Drafthouse to the Broken Spoke.

Bus riders gathered in front of our new store as midnight approached and heard Dan Gillotte and Rose Marie Klee, co-op board chair, speak of how Wheatsville is headed in a BIG (Business Is Good) Direction.

The party ended with folks waving 10-inch-long sparklers that transformed night darkness around us into a Wonderland of Light – Just the beginning of Wheatsville growing a cooperative glow in South Austin. 78704 – Here We Come!

Surrounded by Staff, GM Dan Gillotte links new location to Wheatsville’s BIG Direction – followed by Rose Marie Klee, board chair

Wheatsville’s visionary and linkage-friendly Board of Directors

Words and Photos Bob Kinney

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. evelyn sandel
    June 28, 2012 at 7:40 am

    I love the energy shown by all who are involved. It guarantees success! Anyway, good luck!

    • June 28, 2012 at 7:50 am

      thanks, Evelyn
      Will pass your kind words on to the folks at Wheatsville.
      You live in Austin?

  1. December 27, 2012 at 12:39 am

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