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Unique member owned grocery store cooperative opening in north Flint

Published: Jul. 27, 2021 at 11:01 AM EDT
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FLINT, Mich. (WJRT) - A unique grocery store venture is preparing to open in a food desert on Flint’s north side.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Economic Development Corp. announced a new urban co-op grocery store Tuesday planned to fill a vacant storefront at Pierson and Clio roads. The $7 million project will create the equivalent of 27 full-time jobs.

More than 836 members have signed onto the cooperative venture as part owners of the store. The Michigan Community Community Revitalization Program is providing a $1.25 million grant for the project, which will be awarded if it meets investment and job creation goals, while Flint is providing $200,000.

Whitmer said the North Flint Food Market will provide easier access to healthy and fresh foods for residents on Flint’s north side, who currently have to travel several miles to the nearest full service supermarket.

“This community partnership and investment are delivering on this longstanding need in the community and helping to build the path for economic growth and recovery in Flint,” she said. “The store will feed families, create jobs, and help us continue our economic jumpstart.”

The Pierson Road corridor has been without a full service grocery store for years after Meijer and Kroger both closed locations in north Flint. The Hamady Complete Food Center opened in the former Kroger store in 2018, but lasted only three months before closing.

Investors say the new cooperative grocery store will improve access to fresh food, which can help mitigate the effects of lead poisoning from the Flint water crisis.

“Having affordable and healthy grocery options throughout the community with a focus on the north side, one of the most underserved areas, is needed,” said Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley. “The North Flint Food Market in the Pierson Road Corridor will be a welcomed lighthouse of hope for healthier food resources for Flint families.”

Plans for the North Flint Food Market have been in the works since 2016.

“This project is a direct response to the Flint water crisis and the subsequent departure of major grocery retailers in the Pierson Road corridor,” said Dr. Reginald Flynn of the North Flint Reinvestment Corp. “The store closures adversely impacted low-income, African-American families in north Flint. The USDA has designated this corridor a food desert. However, this area more aptly is experiencing food apartheid with minimal access to healthy, affordable food.”

Information about hiring and an opening date were not available Tuesday.

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