(Washington, DC) Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser, the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, and community leaders celebrated the grand opening of Good Food Markets, which will provide job opportunities, and fresh food options to the Bellevue community in Ward 8. Through the Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, an initiative launched by Mayor Bowser, South Capitol Improvement LLC received an $880,000 grant to support the buildout for the grocer tenant as part of the 225,000 square-foot development that includes a Community of Hope primary care clinic, an office building leased to the DC Department of Human Services, and 190 affordable and permanent supportive housing units.
“Today, with the opening of this Good Food Markets, we’re making good on a promise to deliver more grocery stores and food access points to neighborhoods east of the river. And there’s more on the way – more grocers, more restaurants, more financial support for neighbors with the passion and talent to start their own food businesses,” said Mayor Bowser. “Earlier this week, we announced eight local businesses that will receive grants through the Food Access Fund to open or expand their businesses in Wards 7 and 8. On Monday, we’re back in Ward 8 to celebrate the opening of MLK Gateway, another recipient of the Neighborhood Prosperity Fund that will deliver jobs and opportunity. What we’re doing, one project at a time, is giving more Washingtonians the fair shot they deserve.”
The Neighborhood Prosperity Fund, administered by the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED), supports mixed-used, real estate, or retail development projects in targeted census tracts where unemployment is at 10 percent or higher. The grants provide necessary gap funding for the commercial component of development projects and will help create job opportunities and new food options in Wards 7 and 8.
“Increasing access to healthy food options east of the river and creating jobs for local residents remain a top priority,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio. “Projects such as this exemplify how we continue to collaborate amongst district agencies, developers, and the community to deliver essential amenities, such as Good Food Market, and opportunities for residents to thrive in the District.”
The development was funded by a mix of private and public resources. In addition to Neighborhood Prosperity Fund grant from DMPED, the project received a BizCAP loan from the DC Department of Insurance Securities and Banking, a Healthy Food Retail grant from the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development, and a loan through the Bainum Family Foundation’s Food Security Initiative.
The Good Food Markets project continues Mayor Bowser’s work to expand food access, create new employment opportunities, and stimulate economic development in neighborhoods east of the river. Most recently, the Mayor created a $58 million Food Access Fund and, in the FY22 Budget Support Act, changed the Supermarket Tax Credit to focus eligibility to areas most in need of grocery stores, expand support to more fresh food retailers, and add community engagement requirements for grocers. As a result, more than 162,000 residents will gain food access points within one mile of their home. Additional food access efforts include the Nourish DC Fund created to provide flexible loans, catalytic grants, and technical assistance to emerging and existing locally-owned small food businesses in the District.
“Good Food Markets in Ward 8 is the collective effort of more than 30 individuals and organizations over the past five years,” said Philip Sambol, Good Food Markets’ Executive Director. “All have contributed to a food access vision beyond just fresh produce and healthy food. With the meeting room, café, and a wealth of organizations active in the neighborhood, Good Food Markets can become a space to gather, share, and contribute to the community.”
Good Food Markets will offer fresh produce, essential groceries, and freshly made prepared food, and it will house a dining room as well as a community room for meetings. The grocer plans to open a full-service cafe at the Bellevue store within a few months. When the café opens, total employment for the store is estimated at 15 people. The store will also host health education events for adults and children and partner with community organizations to provide residents with tools to stay healthy. Other Good Food Markets locations have hosted more than 400 such programs since 2015. Throughout the pandemic, Good Food Markets has provided emergency food to nonprofits and delivered more than 540,000 meals worth of groceries in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
Good Food Markets is a social enterprise of DC nonprofit Oasis Community Partners. In 2015, they launched their pilot location on Rhode Island Avenue in Ward 5. The organization opened a second location in Seat Pleasant, Maryland, in September. At 3,800 square feet, the Ward 8 location is the largest Good Food Markets location to date.