“The rain that fell on Tuesday was simply divine,” said Sandy Brown, co-founder and director of UpLift Solutions, a non-profit organization that helps to open supermarkets in food deserts. “It was as if God was raining down happiness for this community.”
Brown joined a host of elected officials, including Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, State Senator Lisa Gladden (D-Maryland), and City Council President Bernard Young at the groundbreaking ceremony for a new ShopRite Supermarket in Howard Park on Tuesday, May 7, 2013.
The Klein Family, owners of ShopRite, and city officials began work to restore the long abandoned site at 4601 Liberty Heights last year.
UpLift Solutions, which helps supermarkets open in locations without access to healthy and affordable food— food deserts— is assisting in the development of the grocery store by Klein’s ShopRite of Maryland.
“Our family is looking forward to starting the construction phase of this project and to bringing a neighborhood ShopRite to the Howard Park community,” said Marshall Klein, Chief Operating Officer of Klein’s Family Markets.
“Having a supermarket in the Howard Park location helps to re-gentrify the community because of all the other services the ShopRite will provide, including a pharmacy,” Brown said. Additional features of the project will include a bakery, an extensive seafood section and a separate Halal meat section.
“The new store not only fills a void in the community where there hadn’t been a supermarket for a number of years, but it’ll create 200 new jobs and I’m hoping that at some point it will offer an in-store health clinic that will be staffed by a nurse practitioner and will enable people to get care for very little money,” she said.
The last supermarket to operate in the area was Super Pride, which closed in 1999. Residents in the area said they are eager for the new ShopRite.
“This will make all the difference in our community, especially for the jobs, for the economic development, improvement commercial and vacant, and become more appealing for those looking to move here,” said Preston Greene, president of Howard Park Civic Association.
“Fulfilling our vision of growing Baltimore by 10,000 families depends greatly on our ability to strengthen communities by bringing new economic activity to places like Howard Park,” Rawlings-Blake said. “We are grateful to Klein’s ShopRite for helping us eliminate a food desert in Northwest Baltimore, and for their commitment to hiring city residents.”
Construction of the 68,000 square-foot building, is expected to be completed by April 2014.