Rainbow Grocery Leader to Help Run Adobe Books Co-op

Following our report from two weeks ago about Adobe's confusing roller coaster ride of closures and revivals, the Chronicle reports on the renewed efforts to keep the shop afloat for years to come:

The new Adobe cooperative is spearheaded by Jeff Ray, who has helped lead the successful Rainbow Grocery cooperative for 25 years; author Paul LaFarge, who introduced the readers and announced the campaign to keep the shop open; and almost a dozen others. The organizers are beginning an Indiegogo campaign (with the goal of raising $60,000) and an art auction (to raise an additional $20,000).

“Andrew has run it as a community space more than a business. We're not going to let it close, but we have to think of new models,” says another organizer, Kyle Knobel, who talks about the need for diversification - like selling vinyl and magazines; hosting popup shops; putting on events. “We'll still have some books, but it'll evolve.”

Losing the clutter of books that has helped make Adobe the community that it has always been is certainly a bummer.  But in spite of the $80,000 they are raising being a considerable amount of money, it's only enough to keep the shop open for 10 months at their current location, so the refined business model is crucial for their long-term viability.

Besides, as Adobe's owner himself said:

“When I opened the store, we dreamed of having a place habituated by artists - and it really turned out that way. Very naturally,” McKinley says. “But now those guys don't live here anymore. They're out in Oakland.”

Comments (9)

What’s happening with that odd furniture shop on Valencia/Liberty? Rent increased? Bored?

Isn’t ‘Odd Furniture’ a rap group?

Is the Rainbow Coop style of business still viable in SF?

Rainbow seems to be doing a quite robust business every time I shop there. The line to park suggests viability, as do the well-stocked shelves.

Modern Times is (somehow) still viable. As far as food, aside from Rainbow there’s Other Avenues and Arizmendi.

In terms of customer-owned coops, there’s various credit unions and an REI location. Yeah I realize that’s not the same as Rainbow, I’m just throwing that on the table.

Looking forward to seeing someone willing to experiment with different models for the store to at least try and see if there is a model that can work. Watching Adobe not change anything while slowly dying has been like watching the kid who never studied realize as a senior that he’s never getting into college.

There is no “Rainbow Grocery Head” as we are a democratically run cooperative. One worker, one vote.

So as far as I know, there is no direct connection between Rainbow Coop as a business helping out Adobe, just rainbow workers, trying to help save this space.

Please get your facts straight and change the title of this article to something less embarrassingly incorrect. Rainbow has no head.

I slightly adjusted the title, but the Chronicle published this fact + had stuck to it. Not saying the Chronicle always gets things right, but it seems odd to me they would have written this without Jeff presenting himself as such.