Supermarket & Café

Realizing that hunger isn’t seasonal, we knew that what neighborhoods need are permanent, affordable solutions to access groceries year-round. In 2016 we started looking at this a bit closer and we started meeting, researching and meeting some more and in 2018 StarkFresh held a series of public listening sessions to get public input regarding a way to bring a community-led supermarket effort to Southeast Canton.  

All thriving communities need strong neighborhoods. An essential part to a strong neighborhood is rooted in the hopes and dreams of the residents who live in that neighborhood. One of the issues affecting the residents of Southeast Canton is that systematic segregation, generational dis-investment and decades of broken promises have caused a general feeling of “lost hope.”
Through this project, we aim to instill hope again to the neighbors residing in and around Southeast Canton by bringing back some parts of this region’s gloried past through the development of a Community-led, Non-Profit Supermarket.

There are several integrated layers to this project.

The most visible component would clearly be the supermarket itself and how the market breaks down a food access barrier for the community. To help guide this project, we have convened a steering committee made up of supermarket and retail industry professionals and partnering agencies to guide the process.  Another major component in the design and makeup of what is sold at the market, will be the crucial feedback from residents and partners that were gained through the public meetings that were held. This public feedback, coupled with the knowledge and guidance from the steering committee, will be combined with gathered information gained from several similarly designed supermarkets throughout the country.

The end result will be a physical supermarket that meets the cultural needs of the community through well-stocked fresh and affordable inventory. Perhaps even basic other needs such as quick-service hot foods deli and banking could be part of the space as well.

An additional component of this project is the economic impact of creating opportunities for 30-50 full and part-time employees. Instead of just providing straightforward employment, the supermarket creates an opportunity for true economic stability and transformation for those being employed. Incorporating a standard employment training program with pieces such as financial literacy learning, healthy eating and cooking education, cash handling, sales, and other retail business skills can truly assist in a potential employee’s personal growth and development.

Other economic opportunities revolve around collaborative programs using underutilized spaces within the immediate community. For example, utilizing nearby commercial kitchen spaces, that are typically used only a few hours each week, programs can be developed to create food items that are made using produce from nearby farm and garden locations, also being tended by area residents. Those food items can then be sold at the supermarket, creating a sustainable, closed-loop food system that has little in the way of limitations.

The plan for this supermarket is unique in that it will be operated as a nonprofit. This unique approach allows for greater collaboration among agencies and community members such as supported DD employment and group volunteering opportunities.

Once this project is completed, this comprehensive approach to area development can be taken and adapted for use in other areas throughout the county where there is a lack of economic resources and low access to healthy, affordable foods

Contact us for more information on how you can help get this project off the screen and turn into reality.