Fare & Square, the First Nonprofit Grocery Store of its Kind, Opens Today in Chester, the First City in Pennsylvania
Chester, PA- September 28, 2013- Fare & Square, the nation’s first nonprofit grocery store of its kind, opened today in Pennsylvania’s first city, the City of Chester in Delaware County. The Grand Opening was celebrated with local elected officials, supporters, community leaders and community members during a block party at the entrance of the store. Today, the Delaware Valley went from 35 to 34 food deserts with the opening of Fare & Square—the first full service grocery store in Chester since 2001.
Fare & Square is a new, nonprofit grocery store offering members convenient access to “Good Food Right Around the Corner” at everyday low prices. Fare & Square will sell a full array of food with a focus on fresh products in a 16,000 sq. ft. store with six departments including produce, deli, fresh meat, seafood, dairy, frozen and dry goods featuring brand name and private labels. The store will be open seven days a week, 8 am-8 pm.
In addition to everyday low prices, SNAP (Food Stamps) will be accepted in order to help stretch customers’ dollars. Shoppers are encouraged to sign up for a free Carrot Club membership. Carrot Club members are eligible to earn rewards through in-store promotions and special values. Carrot Club Members whose households earn 200% of the poverty line or less have an opportunity to receive Carrot Cash benefits, a 7% credit towards future purchases that can be used at their discretion to help further stretch their dollars. On opening day, Fare & Square has 4,700 households signed up, with 70% from within the City of Chester. Fare & Square hopes to serve 6,00 to 8,00 households after opening.
The grand opening of Fare & Square kicked off with official remarks from community leaders and elected officials, including State Senator Dominic Pileggi, Pennsylvania’s 9th District, United States Congressman Bob Brady, Pennsylvania’s 1st District and Mayor John Linder of Chester, followed by the official ribbon cutting and store opening. A block-party celebration followed with food and giveaways supplied by a variety of vendors. Residents danced to music and participated in activities like a Zumba demonstration, face painting, and a balloon art.
“Food deserts are one of the most pervasive problems plaguing cities across the country,” said Bill Clark, president and executive director of Philabundance. “Once we identified the areas of greatest need in the Delaware Valley, it was a meeting with Congressman Bob Brady that spurred us to select Chester as the site of the nation’s first non-profit grocery store. Chester has been without a grocery store for far too long, and we are so proud to be able to bring the first grocery store to Chester. We also can’t thank our funders and supporters enough for helping us make Fare & Square a reality.”
Chester has been without a grocery store for 12 years, and more than 54% of families in the City must travel too far for groceries, according to a Philabundance Community Survey conducted in July 2010. Fare & Square is a systemic approach to combat food inequality and improve access to food for households in need.
Philabundance has rehabbed the last operating full-scale grocery store space in Chester, creating a new gateway at the corner of 9th and Trainer. Fare & Square has created 69 new jobs in Chester with 82% of employees being Chester residents. Earlier this summer, Philabundance offered a free 5-week Service Industry Training Course for residents in Chester interested in working in the service industry and at Fare & Square. Employment was not guaranteed but Fare & Square hired 36 graduates from the program, and one of those is the manager of the frozen/deli department.
Fare & Square would not be a reality without overwhelming support from government, foundation, corporate and individual contributions. Some of the founding partners include the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Honorable Thomas Corbett Governor; The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation; Delaware Valley Regional Economic Development Fund; US Airways Community Foundation; Sunoco Foundation; The City of Chester and Chester Economic Development Authority; Diane Elderkin, Philabundance board member; Bank of America; The Reinvestment Fund; MKM Foundation; Zarwin Baum DeVito Kaplan Schaer Toddy, P.C. through their March Madness Event; The 25th Century Foundation; and TD Charitable Foundation. For a complete list of founding partners visit http://fareandsquare.org/about-us/our-supporters/.
For more information on Fare & Square, please visit fareandsquare.org or call 484-483-2500.