Former Parsons Drive-Through Will Soon Serve up Fresh Produce Instead of Beer
Work is scheduled to start soon on the conversion of a former beer and wine drive-through on Parsons Avenue into the new location for the Church for All People’s Fresh Market.
The Parsons Avenue Redevelopment Corporation (PARC) purchased the building at 945 Parsons earlier this year, and plans to spend up to $30,000 on its renovation. The nonprofit organization also bought two single family homes directly to the north of the drive-through, as well as a small surface parking lot to the south.
The Fresh Market, which is run as part of the church’s Healthy Eating and Living Initiative, will be moving from its current location on the east side of Parsons to the more prominent and spacious spot across the street. The market provides fresh food for households earning up to 200 percent of the poverty rate.
Brian Higgins, PARC’s Executive Director, said that the market will continue to serve that population, but added that “we hope to add some programming like a farmer’s market, raised planters, and the occasional food truck…if we’re successful, it could be a place were people from both sides of Parsons Avenue, irrespective of social position, could come and have a positive experience.”
Higgins said that a larger project encompassing all four parcels controlled by PARC could be developed in the future, but for now the focus is on moving the market into the new building by August.
The drive-through conversion has local community leaders excited for the future of the corridor, and for what some see as a burgeoning cluster of food-related businesses and initiatives.
“I’m very enthused about the new Fresh Market project coming to Parsons Avenue,” said Bob Leighty, Executive Director of the Parsons Avenue Merchants Association. “It’s a creative reuse of an old drive-through building, and it will increase access to fresh, healthy fruits and vegetables for South Columbus residents and visitors.”
Leighty hopes the new market will add to the momentum created by the recently-planted South Side Fruit Park, existing community gardens like the Kossuth Street Garden, and the new South Side Farmers Market (formerly called the Merion Village Farmers Market, which is now held in the parking lot of Tatoheads Public House).
He also cited “places that emphasize fresh and local foods such as Mae’s Produce, Alchemy, the Crest Parsons, South Side Roots Cafe and Market, Little’s Village IGA and Local Matters.”
“It’s wonderful to see,” he added, “there is a really amazing blossoming of the Parsons area as the place to go for fresh and healthy food.”
For more information on the Fresh Market, see www.4allpeople.org.