September 27, 2007
Grocery Store Attraction Symposium
This one-day workshop/discussion brought together local government staff, community advocates, economic development practitioners, and others who are working to bring healthy food retailers to underserved, low-income, urban, or rural communities.
The event provided an overview of the many obstacles that make new store development challenging and highlighted some of the emerging best practices that have made new stores possible in previously underserved areas. The emphasis of the event was on discussion of the real world challenges that participants are facing and potential strategies to overcome them.
Scott Whitney, Real Estate Director, Fresh and Easy Markets
British retailer Tesco is opening a new chain of grocery stores in America with a small format well suited to urban neighborhood sites. Among their initial California locations are several in lower income communities.
Yael Lehmann, Executive Director, The Food Trust
TFT has led a concerted effort to bring grocery stores back to underserved communities throughout Pennsylvania. TFT has led high profile research into the need for stores which helped to convince the state to invest $20 million into a fund to finance new store development and support for existing independent grocers.
Ertharin Cousin, LaVelle Cousin Issues Management
Ms. Cousin is a former senior vice president of public affairs at Albertson’s who now consults with national retailers on a variety of issues including bringing food stores to lower-income communities.
Francis Spencer, Assistant Commissioner, Retail Chicago
Retail Chicago is a program of the City of Chicago that provides a comprehensive set of services designed to assist retailers in opening new stores in Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods. The program has successfully attracted several new supermarkets to Chicago’s lower-income neighborhoods.
Michael Levine, Local Initiatives Support Corporation
In 1994 LISC created a private equity fund called The Retail Initiative to finance new retail centers in low-income urban neighborhoods that are anchored by supermarkets. LISC recently closed the fund after facing some significant challenges, but in the process learned important lessons that can inform other food store financing efforts.
Gwendolyn Flynn, Los Angeles Community Health Councils
Community Health Councils, a nonprofit health promotion and health policy advocacy organization based in South Los Angeles, has engaged in a wide range of efforts to improve local access to healthy food. These efforts have included neighborhood assessments, conversations, and meetings with a wide range of stakeholders, and policy advocacy efforts.
Posted by Rick Jacobus at September 27, 2007 05:23 PM