A north Minneapolis neighborhood that hasn’t had a supermarket in a decade is expected to get one in 2017.
North Market, a project of nonprofit Pillsbury United Communities, is scheduled to set up shop this fall at 4414 Humboldt Av. N. The site is in the middle of a federally designated food desert — a low-income census tract where a significant portion of the population lives more than a mile from a supermarket.
North Market will offer both food and health services. The area is home to nearly 70,000 people, 30 convenience stores and just one supermarket, according to Pillsbury.
“There is definitely a need for a full-service grocery in north Minneapolis neighborhoods, especially on the north end,” said Roberta Englund, executive director of the Webber-Camden Neighborhood Organization.
The area has seen chains including Kowalski’s and Supervalu come and go. The nearest grocery options are convenience stores, Aldi and So Low Grocery Outlet. The nearest full-service supermarket is Cub Foods, 3 miles away.
The neighborhood used to provide bus service to Cub Foods for residents at Hamilton Manor, a senior public housing center next door to the North Market site, Englund said. The program ended because of a lack of funding, but the need didn’t change, she said.
“You have the possibility of a full-service grocer in 2017 coming within walk-next-door distance from the 400 people that live in Hamilton Manor,” she said. “And that’s pretty impressive, I think.”
Because Pillsbury United Communities is a nonprofit and is fundraising for the project up front, rather than taking out a loan, it will be able to keep prices low, said Adair Mosley, the nonprofit’s chief innovation officer.
“We are not doing this for a profit,” Mosley said. “It’s really about providing healthy food access and bringing an economic anchor to a community.”
Pillsbury has reached about half its $6.3 million fundraising goal, he said.
The nonprofit bought the North Market site, a 15,000-square-foot building previously owned by Hennepin County, for $487,500. An expected September 2016 closing date was delayed to November because Pillsbury hadn’t yet secured city approvals, Mosley said.
Pillsbury will add 5,000 square feet to the existing building to accommodate health services, including a clinic that will be operated by North Memorial Health Care.
Crews will break ground in March, Mosley said, and construction is expected to take about six months.
A few miles south in the Willard-Hay neighborhood, another grocery is expected to open in April.
Wirth Cooperative Grocery, which has been in the works for nearly a decade, has secured more than $1 million in financing. The sum includes a federal grant and investments from local businesses, nonprofits and government entities, according to the co-op website.