Growth through Necessity

Neighborhood Supermarket Initiative Meeting

Community leaders and residents filled the Southwest Community Center at 401 South Ave. to voice their hopes and concerns about the proposed neighborhood supermarket Thursday, Nov. 19.

The prospective location is at 601 South Ave. and is in close proximity to many homes, making it easily accessible for most residents. The name of the market hasn’t been officially chosen. However, the preliminary name is “Jubilee Shoppers Club.” The involvement of the surrounding communities was strongly emphasised during the meeting. Walt Dixie stated, “we want the people to lead the movement” to make this happen. The tentative date for starting the project is set for Jan. 15, 2010.

The overall purpose of the meeting, as stated by the Executive Director of Jubilee Homes, Dixie, was “to serve to introduce the initiative, the groups and individuals involved in this planning stage.” The meeting was categorized by Mercedes Bloodworth as “just the beginning of a series of community sessions that will result in the evolution of our neighborhood supermarket.” While the speakers took their turns announcing their respective tasks in this project, the packed house listened and followed corresponding information displayed on an overhead projector on stage. Booklets containing information on the objectives, action plan and the collaborating partners were handed out during the meeting.

The market’s security was a breif topic, and despite the negative effect security has had on previous chains in the area, the residents nor planners see it as a stumbling block.

“It’s a good location, and as long as parents raise their kids right, there won’t be any problems,” Mabel Wilson said.

The dire need for this market is a cornerstone of its stability. Management, on the other hand, was a concern for a portion of the neighbors. Jelani Jefferson said, “the longevity depends on the right management. With the right people internally, I think it’ll do great.”

The supermarket was championed by many of the residents in attendance and Dixie explained that “the South Side community has been underserved from the commercial cooridor.” People like Kaseem Salaam, who’s been living in this area for more than 30 years, echoed his thoughts. “This concept is long over due.”

Others like Ron Ehrinreight expressed the he’s “glad that the supermarket plans are moving forward. This has been identified as a need in the neighborhood for many years.”

From contracting jobs for local minority owned business, to investment solicitation, the neighborhood supermarket initiative seems to have a great platform to launch the revitalization of the South Side area.

— Story by Ame Donkor, Community Reporter for The Stand