Today, a new chapter is being written. Revitalized as The Plant, the building is becoming a gathering place for art, culture, and renewal. A century after its creation, The Plant now stands at a crossroad in its history.
September 8, From urban agriculture to kitchen incubators, many forms of food-related enterprises can act as catalysts for inner city job growth and business development. ICIC has previously covered food clustersfood hubsand other food industry businesses.
While the direct impact of grocery stores is more commonly considered part of the broader discussion around food deserts, they too can have significant economic effect on their local communities.
UpLift Solutionsa nonprofit working within the food industry, recently released a webinar on the economic impact that grocery stores have within local communities. Below are some highlights: Grocery stores provide extensive job opportunities. While many jobs at grocery stores are entry-level, they offer a starting point for otherwise hard-to-hire applicants, including those who have been unemployed for long periods of time.
The Women economic catalysts of the grocery industry also offers significant opportunities for upward mobility. Grocery stores strengthen the economic health of the surrounding neighborhood. Grocery stores have been shown to increase nearby residential home values by five to seven percent.
Homeowners benefit from the increased value of their homes. Additionally, property tax revenue for the city increases, which can help to improve city services or go toward other localized economic development initiatives.
Grocery stores act as anchors that attract other retail stores. Grocery stores have long been considered high volume retail anchors. The stores generate considerable foot traffic and have been shown to draw complementary commercial development, increasing overall retail activity and employment rates.
The benefits aside, opening and maintaining an urban grocery store is not without its challenges.
The webinar explained that traditional grocery stores have narrow profit margins. If a traditional grocery store were moved from the suburbs to an inner city location, it would experience a four percent loss, often removing any remaining margin.
The shopping pattern of inner city residents can often conflict with the traditional grocery sales model. In urban markets, people purchase fewer gourmet goods and other high-margin items.
The workforce is less prepared, requiring grocery stores to provide more extensive on-the-job training. As such, grocery store job training in inner city neighborhoods costs about four times more than it does in suburban locations.
How can companies be convinced to open stores in inner cities when profitability is a barrier? UpLift suggests a model in which the grocery store acts as an anchor for the neighborhood, providing additional programming and wraparound services for low-income residents — a grocery store that is more than just a grocery store in the traditional sense.
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