The economic collapse over the last two years in Lebanon has reminded people of the civil war: the Lebanese pound is plummeting once again; long power outages across the country are the new norm; and the spiraling queues at supermarkets and gas stations in the pursuit of exorbitantly priced imported necessities in ever dwindling supply have become scenes of everyday life.
On August 4, 2020, a year into the economic crisis, and shortly before the blast ripped through Beirut, Nadine Moawad and Mohamad Ali Katanji picked up the keys to two storefronts in the neighborhood of Basta al-Tahta. Just moments after the co-founders locked up and drove away, the explosion destroyed the glass storefronts and delayed their plan to start a co-op.
By the end of October, they had made the necessary repairs and merged the two stores into the “Dikkeneh Co-op,” a consumer cooperative, launching operations with a small team of five. Today, they have more than 100 members who pay as little as 5,000 Lebanese pounds in monthly dues to purchase foodstuff and other goods at cost.