Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sun-Times: Mariano’s gets $5M to build in ‘food deserts’
Credit: Mariano's Instagram
While on Thursday, the focus was on a groundbreaking for Whole Foods Market Englewood there was a story about Mariano's getting state money to open in food desert areas:
Mariano’s Fresh Markets will build five new grocery stores in “food deserts” — neighborhoods with no easy access to affordable, fresh food — with the help of $5 million in Build Illinois bond proceeds committed by Gov. Pat Quinn, the company and the state announced Thursday.

The funds will go toward capital construction in order to free up more money for job training.

It’s the first time that Build Illinois bonds will be used to boost healthy food choices in low-income areas, said David Roeder, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
One of those stores was already announced to come to Bronzeville at 39th/King Drive. The other one is rumored to come to the former site of US Steel near 87th/South Shore Drive. Of course that needs to be confirmed. I think people in South Shore are looking for this one even if it isn't coming to 71st/Jeffrey.

More about the jobs to come:
Mariano said the company must provide intense job training in underserved communities, including working with new hires on basics such as timeliness, proper attire, work preparation and communicating well with customers.

“In many cases, we’re going into places where people haven’t had jobs or haven’t had jobs in many years,” Mariano said. “We want to spend time on job training and job-preparation skills so that the employees and the store can succeed.”

Mariano aims to hire local residents for the food-desert stores. The company does so at existing stores because most people want to work 2 to 5 miles from their homes, Mariano said.

Each Mariano’s store employs about 415 people.

Mariano’s supermarkets emphasize food stations and fresh, prepared and ready-to-prepare foods — an approach that retail experts say work well in underserved neighborhoods.
According to the Sun-Times, the state money is for five stores to open in underserved areas. Four of those will open in the city limits. So there is one that's coming one that's rumored, so where would the other two go?

Here's one suggestion, the property that formerly contained a Jewel/Osco and the now demolished Halsted Indoor Mall located near Halsted/115th Street (here's a picture in fact). That should foot the bill for the state money Mariano's is getting.

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