IFF, a longtime provider of financial solutions and real estate consulting to nonprofit organizations focused on healthy food access and education, also is now responding to the financing needs of full-service grocery stores in high-need areas. For the first time ever, and thanks in part to federal funding, IFF is lending to for-profit, community-engaged grocers across the region.
IFF’s Healthy Food Access Fund finances full-service grocery stores in neighborhoods where there is documented low-access to fresh foods. Affordable, flexible financing is available to retailers and wholesalers locating stores in high-need areas, specifically those with a plan to build community awareness and emphasize health and nutrition.
The fund is available to grocers throughout Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri and the Kansas City metro area.
An example of a successfully completed IFF Healthy Food Access Fund project is C Fresh Market, which celebrated its grand opening Jan. 31 in the River Bend neighborhood of Des Moines, Iowa.
C Fresh Market provides the demographically diverse River Bend neighborhood with a convenient, full-service grocery store—which also features a dine-in deli counter and café—in a neighborhood that does not have many healthy lunch options. The store carries a full range of products, with a special emphasis placed on ethnic and international groceries tailored for the area’s residents. C Fresh also provides nutritional programming to area residents through partnerships with community organizations.
To finance the project, the grocery store’s developer took advantage of IFF’s Healthy Food Access Fund to pay for the site and necessary improvements. The Healthy Food Access Fund provides grocers with affordable, flexible financing to help them successfully open or expand stores in underserved areas.
“C Fresh Market’s healthy foods will help foster healthier diets and a healthier community, and we’re very proud to be supporting this wonderful new store,” said IFF CEO Joe Neri. “As community education is integral to our HFFI (Healthy Food Financing Initiative) program, C Fresh Market will help spread vital information about healthy eating habits throughout the community.”