Independents Benefit From Michigan Good Food Fund Investments

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Six food enterprises in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Southeast Michigan and the Upper Peninsula have received financing from the Michigan Good Food Fund, marking more than $10.5 million in investments since its launch two years ago.

The $30 million fund was created to finance projects that increase healthy food access and spur economic opportunity in underserved communities in Michigan. It is a collaborative effort of Capital Impact Partners, Fair Food Network, Michigan State University Center for Regional Food Systems, Northern Initiatives and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“These investments create jobs and provide access to healthy food in the Michigan communities that need it most,” said fund spokesperson and manager Mary Donnell. “It’s fueling entrepreneurship in our state while benefiting Michigan growers and building healthier communities.”

Investments include:

Grand Rapids
• Diamond Place—$3.7 million financing: This $42 million mixed-use project brings together more than 100 affordable housing units plus 22,000 s.f. of retail space anchored by a community grocery store. Slated for completion in summer 2018, it will create an estimated 200 construction jobs and 150 permanent positions.

• Ken’s Fruit Market—$445,000 financing: This multi-site family-owned grocery store features high-quality food at low prices. The focus is on fresh produce with strong local sourcing. Financing was provided to improve operational efficiencies. Together the three stores support 30 part-time and 40 full-time jobs.

Kalamazoo
• Park Street Market—$6 million financing: As part of an $8 million New Markets Tax Credit transaction, this project will open a second Park Street Market location. The store will offer fresh, affordable food and anchor a revitalized retail plaza, which will create an estimated 13 construction jobs and 165 permanent positions.

Southeast Michigan
• Feast-Detroit—$180,000 financing: This project establishes a new commercial kitchen and processing center. Located in Inkster, it will be co-owned and serve as a home base for three established companies—Marcia’s Munchies, Scotty O’Hotty and Premier Foods—and provide a critical processing resource for other area food entrepreneurs. Feast will create six new full-time positions.

Upper Peninsula
• Flying Moose—$68,128 financing: This healthy food outpost opened a second location in the downtown Marquette public library, creating two new part-time jobs. The café sells healthy prepared foods featuring locally sourced produce, products and meats.

• Little Owl’s Organic Grocery—$86,000 financing: This Menominee-based grocery store provides nutritious produce at a competitive price spotlighting locally grown fruits and vegetables. When it opened in August 2016, it created the sole outpost of organic goods within a 50-mile radius. It has created five new full-time jobs in this rural community.

About The Author

A former newspaper editor and publisher who has handled digital duties for The Shelby Report since 2011. She once enjoyed leisurely perusing the grocery store aisles but, since having a baby in 2016, is now an enthusiastic click-and-collect shopper.

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