Community grocery store gets $3.5 million from Louisville a year after it was denied

Community grocery store gets $3.5 million from Louisville a year after it was denied

Louisville Metro Government granted the Louisville Community Grocery $3.5 million for the development of a co-op grocery store in Louisville's Smoketown neighborhood, the nonprofit has announced.

The Louisville Community Grocery had won a bid for the money last year, but because they had not secured a space for the store, the Metro Government backed out of the grant, said Nathan Hernandez, the treasurer of Louisville Association for Community Economics, the nonprofit that created Louisville Community Grocery.

Hernandez said that the money "means that we have the backing of our local government. And that's going to make it a lot easier for us, will hopefully make it … easier for us to fundraise the rest of it."

Local officials had set aside $3.5 million to Louisville Community Grocery in the city's fiscal year 2020-21 budget and tasked Metro Public Health and Wellness with using the money to "support the development and operation of a grocery in an area underserved by existing operations, to promote job creation and community health."

 

But it was not until June of this year when Louisville Association for Community Economics got land for the store. They were given one acre at Finzer and Preston streets.

In June 13, the Community Foundation of Louisville gave LACE land in Smoketown, which is the only post-Civil War neighborhood settled predominantly by African Americans still remaining in Louisville. The 2-acre space was given to the Community Foundation of Louisville by sporting-goods manufacturer Hillerich & Bradsby Co. in 2015.

The goal of this co-op grocery store is that the owners of the store, which will be members of the community, make the decisions regarding it. Nathan said they already have 500 owners, but their goal is to have 2,000.

"The census tract of the area of where the grocery store is going is considered a food desert. And then it is surrounded by other census tracts that are considered food deserts. So that means that there's a lack of access to healthy foods, and our goal is to fill that gap," Hernandez said.