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Philabundance To Open First Nonprofit Grocery In U.S. Next Spring

Philabundance's Fare & Square

Philabundance, the Delaware Valley’s largest hunger relief organization, has announced that Fare & Square, the first nonprofit grocery store in the country, is scheduled to open in Chester, Pa., in spring 2013. The nonprofit grocery store is a new model that will provide greater food access to the residents of Chester, according to a news release.

Sunoco has been a partner of Philabundance since 1993. As part of Sunoco’s mission to give back to the community and fight hunger, Sunoco Chairman and CEO Brian MacDonald presented Philabundance with $200,000 for hunger relief efforts in the First Congressional District, including $100,000 allocated for Fare & Square capital needs. Sunoco has contributed more than $750,000 in fuel to Philabundance since 2005. This fuel is used to fill Philabundance’s fleet of trucks that travel about 192,000 miles a year to deliver more than 20 million pounds of food in the Delaware Valley.

“When I first approached Philabundance in January 2011, I found an organization with both the commitment to end hunger in Chester and the know-how to do it,” said Congressman Bob Brady (D-Pa.), First Congressional District. “Today’s ceremony is groundbreaking not just in bringing food to Chester, it is groundbreaking in the effort that got us here: an effort in which elected officials reached across partisan lines to bring food into this food desert.”

“This project signifies a new day in Chester,” said Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi (R-9th District). “Both for the food that Fare & Square will sell to the greater Chester area, and also for the dozens of jobs that Philabundance will create here in the city. I have no doubt that this will be a huge step forward in the economic development of the 9th Street corridor.”

The west side of Chester is one of the 35 food deserts in the Delaware Valley, according to the USDA. The city of Chester has been without a grocery store for 11 years. Fare & Square will give Chester residents the access to “good food right around the corner” that has not been available in a full-scale grocery store, the news release says. Fare & Square will sell nutritious food staples with a focus on fresh produce, meats, dairy, seafood, and frozen foods at every day low prices.

Everyone is welcome to shop at Fare & Square upon signing up for a free annual membership. There are two levels of membership. Those who qualify will receive a percentage of their purchase as “Fare & Square Bucks” to be applied to future purchase(s) of their choice. Those who don’t qualify for “Bucks” are still able to benefit from every day low prices and the broad product selection Fare & Square will provide. Fare & Square will accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Women Infant and Children (WIC) benefits to help customers stretch their dollar and also provide SNAP outreach as an added community resource. Philabundance hopes to replicate this model in other communities in the Delaware Valley.

“Food access is a growing and complex problem across the country and in the Delaware Valley, and one that requires a complex solution,” said Bill Clark, president and executive director of Philabundance. “Philabundance has worked on this concept for five years, and we are thrilled to see it coming to fruition to help the residents of Chester. We could not open Fare & Square in Chester without the help of our countless partners and supporters in this project, including Sen. Dominic Pileggi and Congressman Bob Brady, who led a bipartisan effort with Gov. Corbett to get capital funding for the RACP funding for this project; and Sunoco, a longtime partner of Philabundance who is committed to helping neighborhoods that suffer from hunger—one of the reasons we are here is because of their generous gift, which allowed us to move ahead at this time on the project.”

The news release adds that Philabundance could not move forward with this project and close on the property without the financing partnership of the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) and TD Bank.

The Fare & Square project will include renovating a partially vacant building, and bring 30 new jobs to Chester. The Delaware Valley Regional Economic Development Fund (DVREDF) and the Chester Economic Development Authority (CEDA), along with Mayor Linder, Chester City Council and State Rep. Thaddeus Kirkland were instrumental in the benefits this project brings to Chester.

Philabundance will renovate the entire 21,000-s.f. building, creating a new gateway on the west end of Chester at the corner of 9th and Trainer. Fare & Square will be a 13,000-s.f. grocery store, located in the site of last supermarket within Chester city limits. In addition, Family Dollar will be reconfigured to take up the 9th Street corridor and receive an improved facade. Philabundance is working with grocery retail consultants that run area grocery stores to help Philabundance create a grocery store that anyone would be proud to shop at, the news release says.

Philabundance has served the residents of Chester for more than 20 years and provides food to 14 member agencies in the city, 11 of which are food pantries. Philabundance will hold community meetings starting Oct. 11 to introduce community residents to the store, answer questions and take suggestions from potential shoppers about the types of food and services that will be available.

In the featured photo at top: Officials celebrate the groundbreaking of Philabundance’s Fare & Square grocery store on Thursday.








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