Residents hope community-owned store will fill need for groceries in Louisville's west end
A community-owned grocery store is feeding the needs of neighborhoods starving for options.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A community-owned grocery store may feed the need of neighborhoods starving for options.
To Aundre Henderson Sr., a few blocks can feel like several miles.
"Since Pic-Pac has left, now I have to go over here to Portland, to the Kroger," he said.
With no grocery store near his Shawnee neighborhood home, and no transportation, he found himself on a familiar and frustrating walk to the Family Dollar on Friday.
"They have a food section, but it's so limited, 90 percent of the stuff that's back there, I can't eat it because I'm a diabetic," he said.
He grabbed just enough to get by until he can get to the grocery store.
"There has to be an option or a way that we can put our heads together to make people accessible to essential things they need in their life," Henderson said.
Cassia Herron says there is a better way. She's one of the organizers behind the Louisville Food Cooperative effort, what would be the city's only community-owned grocery store.
"It will be an open store like any other grocery store," Herron said. "The difference is some of the shoppers will be owners."
Members would pay a fee and receive special discounts, but also be part of the decision-making in a full-fledged store where the focus is local goods by local people. With food producers on board, the team is looking for a location. Possibilities include Smoketown, Shelby Park, Old Louisville, Russell, Portland, Shawnee or Parkland.
They're all neighborhoods left starving for options after grocery stores pulled out. The Shawnee market is just one of four grocery stores to recently close between Old Louisville and west Louisville. It has created a major need to feed.
"For the west end community, it's really a burden," Henderson said.
"We know that grocery stores serving small neighborhood retail brings other small neighborhood retail and we want this to be a catalyst for economic development," said Herron.
The team is still early in the organizing and looking for help.
"We know that there's a lot more expertise than what we have, and we are doing our best," said Herron.
And after one more frustrating Friday walk, Henderson may be the newest member of the team.
"You just have to be willing to take on the challenge," he said. "Failure is not an option."
Anyone interested in joining the organization team is invited to attend monthly meetings of the Louisville Food Cooperative. They are held at 5:30 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month in the Community Room of the Western Library Branch at 604 S. 10th Street. The next meeting is Tuesday August 8.
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