New grocery store opens in South Side food desert

August 27, 2010 4:42:46 AM PDT
A new grocery store is bringing fresh, healthy food options to residents living in a Chicago community that's considered a food desert.

Fresh Family Foods is a boutique-style store on 336 E. 95th St.across from Chicago State University in the city's Chatham neighborhood.

Entrepreneur Quentin Love, founder of the popular Quench chain restaurants, has partnered with other entrepreneurs to open a grocery store alternative. Residents say the store is badly needed in their neighborhood.

"I think it's great...it's like a French grocery store," said Lenore Juarez, Chatham resident.

The store is the brain child of Chicago restaurateur Quentin Love and co-owner Dianna Wiley who teamed up with LaDonna Redmond, a longtime advocate of healthy food choices in minority communities.

"In our community there is a shortage of fresh produce. So the most important thing with Fresh Family Foods was to create the fresh produce market," said Love.

He brought in other entrepreneurs to open a grocery store that offers can goods, staples, a juice and coffee bar, brown sugar bakery goods, buttered, cheese and caramel Poptime popcorn, a butcher shop along with prepared meals.

"I think the community needed it and I also think that the school, Chicago State, students will take advantage of coming over," said Evelyn Davenport, South Side resident.

"It has been a project of mine for many years now to make sure African American communities have access to the healthiest varieties of foods," said Redmond. "It's bringing entrepreneurs who have separate businesses, creating an environment where they can combine their expertise, and then they also have a better buying capacity, more products, better products, and then offer more jobs to the community," said Redmond.

"I think it is wonderful. I am so happy to see us come back to our neighborhoods and open some businesses for our community to put money back into our community," said Princella Lee, Chatham resident.

The owners say they hope to open other fresh food stores in the future.They want to encourage other African Americans to open up businesses in their communities that will provide services that are desperately needed and to create jobs for residents.


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