- Cory Frolik Staff Writer
A group that wants to combat food deserts and improve access to healthy eating options in northwest Dayton has selected the 100 block of Salem Avenue for a new full-service grocery store.
The Gem City Market will be a “community-centered” grocery store on the lower section of Salem Avenue just across the river from downtown.
The market will be owned by its workers, customers and supporters. The project is expected to cost $3.9 million, and supporters want to sell 2,000 community shares in the cooperative by the time the business opens.
“It’s going to take a lot of community support to get this off the ground,” said Ray Alexander, a member of the Edgemont neighborhood coalition.
The estimated 15,000-square-foot store will offer affordable, specialty, local and organic products as well as fresh produce and meats and “kitchen staples,” supporters said.
The market has a “groceries for all” philosophy and wants to serve a diverse mix of customers, including people on limited budgets and people with more disposable income.
“You don’t have to be a shareholder to stop at the store,” said Daniel Thomas, a member of the Greater Dayton Union Co-op Initiative, a nonprofit that is developing the cooperative.
The market plans to sell 70 percent conventional grocery items and 30 percent organic and specialty products. It also plans to sell beer and wine to help make the market and its plans to sell affordable groceries financially viable.
The co-op initiative has partnered with Omega Baptist Church, which owns the future site of the market and other properties along lower Salem Avenue.
The market area has about 22,000 people, and the business also hopes to draw some shoppers from downtown. The Salem Avenue corridor handles about 15,000 to 18,000 vehicles per day, supporters said.