The Market at Eastpoint is set to have its grand opening ceremony at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, April 21. Located at 1708 NE 23rd St. in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the celebration will include music from the Douglass High School band and remarks from Councilwoman Nikki Nice; Marc Jones, president and CEO at Homeland; Caylee Dodson, director of RestoreOKC; Pastor McDaniel of Northeast Missionary Baptist Church; and poet Montise.
The Market is located in the Eastpoint Development. Once the doors are open for business, attendees are welcome to tour the store, meet the staff, shop for groceries and enjoy a meal from the Eastside Eatery.
The Market at Eastpoint also will host a Family Day from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, April 24, with the OKC Thunder’s Rumble welcoming and entertaining guests from 11 a.m. to noon.
The Northeast Oklahoma City area has long been considered a food desert, and with the closing of the community’s last grocery store in August 2019, many families lost their final local food access point. As an asset-based community development ministry in Northeast Oklahoma City, RestoreOKC recognized not only the risk this posed to the community but also the opportunity to catalyst as neighbors.
Community leaders and neighbors met following food distributions to begin dreaming about how they could work together to help create long-term, community-led food access. They are excited about how that has resulted in a project that is truly being led by the next generation of the community.
Homeland worked with RestoreOKC early in the dreaming process to formulate a plan for a public-private partnership that would allow the two partners to co-operate a grocery store on NE 23rd & Rhode Island. Through partnership, RestoreOKC was free as a 501(c)3 to focus efforts on fundraising and securing product donations and partnerships that could help sustain the store through the early years and allow Homeland’s expertise in the grocery industry to streamline the process and provide much needed oversight and infrastructure.
“We are thrilled to see our public-private partners,” Jones said. “This is an important project for our employee owners, and we are proud to work hand in hand with the community to make it a reality.”
“We are beyond grateful for the ingenuity and flexibility that the entire Homeland team has brought into this entire process. Marc Jones’ leadership has been pivotal, and we are humbled by the willingness that Homeland’s entire team has shown to absorb the extra work that comes along with anything new. We know that they didn’t have to, but they chose to do it anyway and we are so excited about what it means for this project and what it hopefully means for public-private partnerships both now and in the future,” Dodson said.
The vision originally began with a small group of committed students and neighbors and soon grew to a fundraising campaign that included partnerships like Life Church, which gave a $300,000 grant to encourage the church to see justice and mercy through food access. Neighbors and grantors from Northeast Oklahoma City led the way, neighborhood associations, individuals, churches, groups like Black Lives Matter, family foundations, the City of Oklahoma City and even Tony the Tiger from the Kellogg Foundation were pivotal in helping raise the $1.3 million in funding that was needed for the grocery store.
“We just simply couldn’t be prouder about the expression of unity and generosity that has made this project possible. And then, on top of those development funds to have received a $1 million Operational Grant from the Inasmuch Foundation at the end of 2020 is something we still can’t quite wrap our heads around,” said Dodson. “It’s truly been such a collaborative effort with a beautiful result.”
In addition to bringing much needed access to food, The Market at Eastpoint is poised to create 30-40 jobs for the community.
“It has been incredible to watch how many individuals have come together as one to help not only eradicate food insecurity but also to create needed jobs for the Northeast Oklahoma community,” said RestoreOKC Jobs Director Jonathan Veal.
The Market at Eastpoint will include an array of fresh offerings such as organic fruits and vegetables grown on RestoreOKC’s 5-acre Urban Farm, which is currently led by 18 high school students from the Northeast Oklahoma City community. Additionally, the Eastside Eatery will have fresh baked breads and ready-to-eat hot foods prepared by community chef and leader Brandi Jones of the former Family Affair Restaurant.
Gardner Architects have worked closely with Restore Farms interns and community team to design the store in a way that reflects the unique mash-up that is the Urban Farm family and a continuation of the 5-acre Urban Farm at RestoreOKC, which is situated less than a mile from the grocery store it will serve.
As a 501(c)3, RestoreOKC has been fundraising and seeking out grants and donations that can help offset some of the cost of foods that are typically less cost effective than pre-packaged counterparts. To help create sustainable food, you can invest by making a tax-deductible donation through their website: restoreokc.org
For more information, visit marketateastpoint.org.