Price Rite grocery store opens in city ‘food desert’
Riley Bunch | Staff Photographer
A new Price Rite grocery store that opened on Sunday in Syracuse’s South Side brings what some community members describe as a “food desert” situation to the end.
The supermarket opened on South Avenue, located in the southwestern portion of the city that faces a range of different issues — including concentrated minority poverty and high numbers of lead poisoning cases. A recent economic wellbeing data indicates Syracuse is continuing to grapple with making progress on economic growth: the city slipped to the bottom in Brookings Institution’s annual Metro Monitor economic growth ranking surveying the 100 largest metropolitan cities in the United States.
This is Price Rite’s second location in Syracuse, located about four miles south of the original Price Rite location on Erie Boulevard that opened about five years ago.
“We look for the neighborhoods that best fit (Price Rite’s) model, which is to bring the most wholesome product at the cheapest price while providing a fresh environment,” said Josh Bartholomew, Price Rite’s regional director of operations.
Southwest community members have wanted a grocery store in the area so people without cars could get fresh food, according to Syracuse.com.
In upstate New York, other areas considered food deserts can be found in large portions of the state near or north of Watertown, and in areas near the Catskills and Albany.
Bartholomew said Jubilee Homes, a non-profit organization focused on eliminating crime and providing housing opportunities to low- and moderate-income families in the southwestern area of the city, helped Price Rite find the location for the new grocery store. Other organizations, along with state and county grants, also made this second location applicable, Bartholomew said.
“With success comes several different things. Obviously, we are a business and so it is all about revenue so we can have sustainable growth,” he said. “But at the same point, we are able to grow sales to have more jobs in the area. Up to 250 people can be hired for a store.”
The state provided $1.4 million in grants for the project and Onondaga County is providing a $200,000 grant for the project, according to Syracuse.com. The Syracuse Industrial Development Agency also approved different tax exemptions for the new store. There are currently about 100 employees at the new store, per Syracuse.com. The store will be donating $3,000 to the CEO of Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility, Inc., as reported by Syracuse.com, in the name of the Southwest Community Center.
There was need for another grocery store location in the area because many customers were unable to travel to get groceries at the original store — especially if they did not have access to transportation, Bartholomew said.
He said the community has had a positive response to the new store’s opening on South Avenue. On Sunday, people started lining up around 5:30 a.m. to get into the Price Rite, and because of the cold weather, the store opened around 7 a.m. The opening was originally scheduled to be 8 a.m., according to Syracuse.com.
In the afternoon, a traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony with local politicians and clergy members was held for the new grocery store.
“This whole project has been going on for 10 years, and the attendance speaks volumes of the community,” Bartholomew said. “It was a great turnout.”
Price Rite, Bartholomew said, receives deliveries of food six times a week, ensuring the store will meet the needs of the people in the community.
Neil Duffy, president of Price Rite, said that the company was excited about the new store, according to Syracuse.com. Local residents have been waiting for a grocery store in this area for a long time, he said, and the company was looking forward to becoming “a vital part” of the community.
“We are privileged to be part of this community and all the great new development that is happening along the southwest corridor,” Duffy said.
Published on April 5, 2017 at 8:55 pm
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