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Where's the ideal location for Near East Side Food Co-Op?

Home Forums General Columbus Discussion Where’s the ideal location for Near East Side Food Co-Op?

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 28 total)
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  • #86841
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    The Near East Side is largely a residential neighborhood, but severely lacks in grocery stores and healthy/fresh food options. Thankfully that is about to change with the eventual opening of a food/grocery co-op:

    Local Matters and Circle 77 Launching Food Co-Op on Near East Side

    The location of this resource has not yet been identified, which leaves me wondering where the best location might actually be.

    If we consider the Near East Side to include Olde Towne East, King Lincoln, Franklin Park, Woodland Park, Eastgate and South of Main (pretty much everything between 70, 71, 670 and Nelson) then we’re talking about a pretty large area… roughly 2.5 square miles.

    The only main existing grocery store in this area is the Sav-A-Lot, located at 1179 E Main Street, which is semi central to the area as a whole, but positioned a little further south in the context of the whole area.

    Other grocery-type food vendors on the Near East Side are carry outs, and groceries in those places are limited to mostly convenience items.

    Nearby grocery stores to the area include the Kroger on East Main adjacent to Bexley (south east of this area), The IGA on Parsons (south of this area), The North Market (west of this area) and others further beyond.

    The most central location would be close to Broad & Taylor, though I’m not sure there is a suitable site nearby, nor an existing commercial building that could easily be re-purposed.

    A block south of Franklin Park is the Trolly Barn, which could be a perfect fit for this development. Developers of the site have already studied the possibility of having a community market in this project:

    The only issue is that this site is already closer to both the Sav-A-Lot and the Kroger on Main Street.

    Another option is the former Carl L. Brown Foodliner IGA building at Mount Vernon & Champion. The building is privately owned and I have no idea what condition it’s in, or if the owners are willing to sell or lease for redevelopment, but it’s already purposed as a grocery store, and in a location slightly north of central where there are fewer existing options:

    The combo upside/downside is that it’s also very close to the Poindexter Village public housing project, which would be a turnoff for some customers, but there are also eventual plans to demolish and redevelop much of the area, including the new $10M financial commitment from OSU to help fix up the area around OSU Hospital East, so changes are in the pipeline for the future.

    Where else would this new food co-op grocery store make sense on the Near East Side? Are there other specific locations or buildings that would be a good fit?

    #447152

    cc
    Member

    I think since some of the stated goals are food education and accessibility it makes more sense for this be where their are less options and maybe a little more of a deprived population exists. The Franklin Park area is rapidly gentrifying and is a stones throw from Bexley. There are a lot of poor young mothers who have families in KLD/OTE/NES who really need access to fresh groceries and are surrounded by a food desert. I think of the options listed the Foodliner makes the most sense.

    I believe the Trolley Barns will someday make a great farmers market selling fresh produce and maybe other items like the upper scale North Market. I think that will be a great amenity. I think that the social service aim of Local Matters/Circle 77 is better suited elsewhere. It would not be a stretch to think we can have both.

    #447154
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    I agree that as far as the education component goes, the Foodliner location (or anywhere closer to a lower-income demographic) makes more sense. But at the same time, the more customers that come through, the better equipped the organization will be to fund the educational mission.

    #447155

    cc
    Member

    A good point about the traffic – I am sure it will make more money at the Trolley Barn. There are definitely plenty of planned parking spaces. I hope the ‘antique market’ gets repurposed.

    #447156

    christylwilliams
    Participant

    I really like this building, corner of Oak and Ohio. It’s practically the center of the Near East Side, is in a safe location, has access to good parking across the street, and will nicely compliment all the other development going on along Oak Street. Unfortunately it needs extensive renovation and I’ve heard the owner is very unwilling to negotiate on the sky high asking price.

    #447157

    Pablo
    Participant

    The Clintonville Community Market does not provide off street parking. I usually bike or walk when I shop there. I don’t know if this is good or bad for the market or the surrounding neighborhood – I’ll leave that debate for another thread. The Clintonville market seems to be doing OK – it’s been there a while.

    My point is that rather than spend a lot of money buying or leasing land for a parking lot, the Near East Side community market could use those dollars to secure a building.

    #447158

    BCNation
    Participant

    christylwilliams wrote >>

    I really like this building, corner of Oak and Ohio. It’s practically the center of the Near East Side, is in a safe location, has access to good parking across the street, and will nicely compliment all the other development going on along Oak Street. Unfortunately it needs extensive renovation and I’ve heard the owner is very unwilling to negotiate on the sky high asking price.

    I forgot about this bldg.

    #447159

    The Trolley Barn (1) would be ideal and or the Oak Street Location (2). The Mt Vernon site is too isolated and would not attract enough customers with the resources a project like this needs.

    The Trolley Barn site would be able to serve not only lower income, but the higher income and middle class residents of Olde Towne, Franklin Park, Bryden Road, Woodland Park, etc. It would also be repurposed, historic and interesting that would add to its attractiveness and overall appeal.

    If you want success you need economic diversity and that means people with money to spend, as well as lower income folks that need assistance and may not have as many options to buy healthy foods.

    The Trolley Barns would be amazing for this type of venture, close to the buslines, Franklin Park, yada, yada, yada and given the success of Oak Street and Parsons avenue business – there would be a good and “large” foundation of customers that could support economically this type of venture.

    IMHO people on Bryden Road would be less likely patronize a location on Mt Vernon, which is very industrial and desolate right now versus being able to walk or bike to the BARNS!. The Trolley Barn location and building is awesome too – they could have a farmers market, International items (Asian, Latino and Somali), a crafts fair, antique Market and SN Market scene with low rents and that would mean big time success for the area, the people served and the operators inside. It would also be a big asset and rehab in the center of the Near East Side neighborhoods.

    #447161

    kandrews
    Participant

    My vote is for Foodliner. On a related note I would also like to see local produce in the ginormous empty lot at the corner of 5th and Cleveland to break up the Chicken District a bit. Lots of space for a building, bike parking, gardens and more. Anything there would be a huge improvement. Who’s in?

    #447163

    kandrews
    Participant

    My vote is for Foodliner. On a related note I would also like to see local produce in the ginormous empty lot at the corner of 5th and Cleveland to break up the Chicken District a bit. Lots of space for a building, bike parking, gardens and more. Anything there would be a huge improvement. Who’s in?

    #447162

    kandrews
    Participant

    My vote is for Foodliner. On a related note I would also like to see local produce in the ginormous empty lot at the corner of 5th and Cleveland to break up the Chicken District a bit. Lots of space for a building, bike parking, gardens and more. Anything there would be a huge improvement. Who’s in?

    #447164
    Anne Evans
    Anne Evans
    Keymaster

    My vote is for the trolley barn. I think it would have the appeal of becoming a tourist destination and I always love to see historic buildings getting loved again.

    #447165
    Walker Evans
    Walker Evans
    Keymaster

    Anne wrote >>
    My vote is for the trolley barn. I think it would have the appeal of becoming a tourist destination and I always love to see historic buildings getting loved again.

    I agree that something designed to be more like the North Market and less like the Clintonville Co-Op would be more likely to have a regional draw. And that probably would be easier to accomplish in the Trolley Barn.

    #447166

    Parker
    Participant

    The Foodliner was a source of groceries in the past and is likely setup for reuse, I would vote for it. More importantly, have these groups of outsiders asked people in the neighborhoods of the near east side where they would like to shop? What types of foods and locations they prefer? These are really important things to consider and would help the success of the project a lot (rather than telling people what they need).

    Also, who are the groups that they want to service with this location? A Clintonville Coop is a different setup, model, and potential clientele than the North Market. If the need is to bring access to fresh, healthy food options to the neighborhood, the Coop model is a better fit than vendor stalls.

    #447167

    TMills
    Member

    Parker wrote >>
    More importantly, have these groups of outsiders asked people in the neighborhoods of the near east side where they would like to shop? What types of foods and locations they prefer? These are really important things to consider and would help the success of the project a lot (rather than telling people what they need).

    Thanks for your input Jason. We’re doing just that. Local Matters’ partner in this project is Circle 77 a 50 member food buying club made up of Near East Side residents. They’re the ones that are leading the project and will be gathering input from neighbors. Our role is to provide support and guidance (where requested) as we get the project off the ground. Can’t wait to see what develops!

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