By: Nora Muchanic
CHESTER Pa. – September 28, 2013 (WPVI) — It’s official. For the first time in 12 years, Chester has a full-scale grocery store.
Located at 9th and Trainer, it’s called Fare & Square and is owned and operated by Philabundance.
The 16,000-square-foot store is the first non-profit grocery store in the country, designed to offer low-cost fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, dairy and deli to local residents.
“It was hard to find good vegetables and things here locally so you’d have to travel a distance to get to it,” shopper Keith Butler told Action News.
Without a supermarket for so long, Chester has been declared a ‘food desert.’ Having fresh, affordable products will change that.
“The foundation for a healthy life is access to healthy food, and that’s what we’re trying to do here,” said Philabundance Executive Director Bill Clark.
Most of Fare & Square’s 69 employees are locals.
“I’ve been out of a job for a while, so most everyone here is from Chester who works here. It’s a blessing,” said Quannetta Pryor.
It was a mob scene as shoppers strolled the aisles of Fare & Square, which was built with money from the government, foundations and individuals.
The mayor hopes this brand new grocery store will help spur economic development.
“That’s a very, very important piece for us,” said Mayor John Linder. “Bring jobs, food, business to our city.”
Shoppers seem to be thrilled with the idea of being able to buy fresh fruits and vegetables in their own neighborhood. No more taking a bus or getting in the car to go out of town to food-shop for their families.
“Fresh vegetables, a place to come, you get all your marketing at one time,” said Jeanette Thompson.
“A lot of times people travel so far just to get to a market,” said Jean Lyons. “By me living right up the street it’s easy access for me.”
Some large wholesalers have agreed to supply Fare & Square with goods at discount prices that are passed along.
Shoppers with incomes at or below the poverty level can build up a 7% store credit for future purchases.