Thursday, September 26, 2013

Nonprofit supermarket set to open in Chester this weekend

Fare & Square, a nonprofit grocery store created by Philabundance, also a nonprofit organization, plans to open this Saturday in Chester, PA, a community declared as a food desert by the federal government. The government defines a food desert as a low-income area lacking ready access to healthy food.

The $7 million store is the brain child of Philabundance Executive Director Bill Clark, who said it's nearly impossible to buy a head of lettuce in any of Chester's 100 corner stores. Chester's population is approximately 33,000.

Financial help for the nonprofit store has been provided by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Delaware Valley Regional Economic Development Fund, the City of Chester, and others.

Although anyone can shop in the 16,000 square foot store, shoppers with annual incomes equal to or less than twice the federal poverty level of $23,000 for a family of four can accrue store credits of seven percent of their purchase. The credits can be applied towards future purchases.

Chester, once a bustling shipbuilding town, has struggled in the years after World War II.  As of Saturday, the city will have the designation of being home to the only nonprofit supermarket in the country.

According to a Philly.com story, Bottom Dollar is planning to open a store in Chester in 2014.

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