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Indy Fresh Market grocery store to fill need in northeast-side food desert

Store will open at 38th and Sheridan in August 2022
Posted at 3:49 PM, May 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-06 15:49:34-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A new grocery store on the northeast side of Indianapolis is expected to fill many needs in what has become a food desert in recent years.

Officials said Thursday that construction of the 14,000 square foot full-service Indy Fresh Market will begin in August near the new Cook Medical-Goodwill medical device manufacturing facility at the intersection of East 38th Street and North Sheridan Avenue.

The store is expected to open in August 2022.

“Today's Indy Fresh Market announcement is another reminder that we can continue to bring back opportunities to Northeast Indianapolis if we collectively work together, no matter our differences,” said Ashley Gurvitz, COO and executive director, Alliance for Northeast Unification and United Northeast Community Development Corporation.

The store will employ 15-20 workers who will make $10-13 per hour, Gurvitz said. Employees will have access to Goodwill services, including housing support, legal aid, mental and physical health care, case management services, substance abuse assistance and soft skills training.

Neighborhood entrepreneurs Michael McFarland and Marckus Williams partnered on the project with Cook Medical, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana, The Indianapolis Foundation, IMPACT Central Indiana, Martin University, the State of Indiana, the City of Indianapolis and the United Northeast Community Development Corporation.

Cook Medical will build the store, while IMPACT Central Indiana will provide start-up capital. A lease-to-own model will be in place with the goal of McFarland and Williams eventually owning the real estate while also operating the grocery store.

The store's development will be supervised by Joe Welsh, who goes by "Joe the Grocer," and his support staff. McFarland and Williams will begin a program in June that will include training how to own and operate a full-service supermarket. Training will continue through the opening of the store.

There will also be opportunities for educational tracks in grocery store operations, officials said. The curriculum will cover different areas of grocery store operations, including IT, human resources, supply chain and entrepreneurship. Internships will also be available and Martin University will work with Welsh to develop a curriculum to allow people to earn accredited certificates in grocery store operations.

Organizers of the project hope it can be a model that can be replicated in other communities.

"We have resilient community members who have survived and thrived with little resources, some who have even started small businesses," McFarland said. "However, there are still not many healthy food options and, for some, little hope. That's what we want to bring back to our community. We want families to feel safe walking down the aisles and connecting with their neighbors at Indy Fresh Market."

Watch Thursday's announcement below: