Community-Led Grocery Store Hopes to Fill Food Desert Gap

Feb 13, 2020

A future grocery store on Oxford Street in Fort Wayne is looking to give the community more involvement in the food that comes into the neighborhood - starting with open houses this month.

 

Utopian Community Grocery store wants to be more than your average health food store.

 

The grocery store is being opened by members of the community, in what is a designated food desert. And they want to involve other members of the community in the process.

 

Chondra Ridley is the Vice President of Utopian Community Grocery. She says they’re in a unique position to let people who come into the store help shape what it becomes.

 

“We hope that by giving them an opportunity to participate in what we provide and, you know, their chance to pretty much invest by shopping here. It’s a way to help to spend our money in our community better than we have been and to give us some different kind of food alternatives.”

 

Ridley says part of this is through memberships the store will offer, beginning at five dollars a month. A membership isn’t required to shop, but it offers discounts and opportunities to help shape the store.

 

They won’t just be filling grocery needs. The building will also house a restaurant and bakery, a full service salon, and a rentable community room.

 

To start the conversation, Utopian Community Grocery will be hosting open houses from 2 to 4 p.m. on Feb. 15 and Feb. 29 at 608 Oxford St.