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The ability to shop for affordable, nutritious food in a vast area of Dayton was already a struggle for many residents long before a fire destroyed an East Dayton store in November and an international grocery chain announced this month it was leaving Westown Shopping Center on the other side of the city, said organizers.
Organizers formed the Greater Dayton Union Co-op Initiative in 2015 to help alleviate an area food desert and bring sustainable jobs to the area.
The area that will be served by for the Gem City Market is considered a “food desert” based on the U.S. Department of Agriculture definition where more than 40 percent of the population lives more than a mile from a supermarket and has an income at 200 percent of the federal poverty line or lower.
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The group embarked on a fundraising campaign to raise $4.2 million which also included selling shares in the store for $100, which are also available on a subsidized basis to those with low incomes.
The goal is to have a 15,000-square-foot, full-service grocery up and running in the 100 block of Salem Avenue in 2019.