Saturday, April 16, 2011

There's a Party Happening at Stop & Shop!

Finally, after over a year of shuttered doors, there is a new, full-service, centrally located grocery store in New Haven! Yesterday, the Stop&Shop near downtown opened to the public. It was incredible to see the parking lot full, and hundreds of people milling in and out of the store. Typically big corporate ventures are not high on my list of things to be happy about, but when you live in a city of 126,000 with no centrally located full-service grocery store, and very few grocery stores within city limits at all, this is really something to celebrate! 

The atmosphere within the store was festive, with balloons, music and tasting stations everywhere. They did a great job at having a lot of foods for different ethnic communities, Chinese, Jamacian, Kosher Jewish foods, Latino, etc. They've hired 100% New Haven folks, a bunch of great people to run departments, including a large number of people of color,  and are planning community outreach and nutrition events. This is certainly a great step towards improving availability of healthy food for the people of our city. Let's hope that the store continues to respond to the needs of the entire city to create a vibrant and thriving urban food center!

It has been deeply disturbing to me recently how all of the large grocery store chains refused to open a store within our city limits, and even shuttered the one existing store, even though it was profitable. Most large grocery companies don't really seem to understand the urban grocery market, and seem unwilling to alter their suburban models at all to provide a service and make money within these under-served "food deserts".
Enormous congratulations go out to the Greater Dwight Development Corporation, the people of the Dwight community, and all the New Haven partners that worked extremely hard to get this store open!!!
I was caught up in the party atmosphere and kind of randomly snapped some pictures...

 And, I bumped into 3 friends while I was there!

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