FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — A new grocery store on Pontiac Street has been in the works for months, and construction officially began Thursday.

A celebration for the incoming Pontiac Street Market brought crowds to the former Vincent Village Outlet Store, where the new market will be. Mayor Tom Henry and the City of Fort Wayne’s Community Development Division discussed more details on the market’s purpose– healthy, affordable options in the area that is currently a food desert.

According to a release from the City, the full-service market will provide:

  • Fresh produce
  • Meats
  • Dairy
  • Prepared foods
  • Baked goods
  • Sandwich counter
  • Grocery pickup

Representatives from nearby neighborhoods will have the chance to be part of the conversation around what other types of products and services the store should offer, the release said. Leaders will meet with Community Development staff, along with Sodexo, the market’s operator that also works with Parkview.

“A grocery store with healthy and affordable food options has been a top priority of my administration,” Mayor Henry said. “It’s encouraging to see how much progress we’ve made to bring meaningful quality of life opportunities to southeast Fort Wayne. We still have work to do, but we’re on the right track.”

‘Fight for the south side,’ rally against new Pontiac grocery

Despite the effort to fight food insecurity and a lack of grocery options, the market at 918 E. Pontiac St. is not being met kindly by all.

Ty Simmons is an activist who has tried to push another grocery project in southeast Fort Wayne called Utopian Community Grocery. According to his Facebook page, Simmons is the branch manager.

“For the last seven years I’ve been in deep research about the food industry,” Simmons said. “We opened, we had five deaths in our family and we stepped back.”

“I’m not against [Pontiac Street Market], we’re opposed to their diversity equity inclusion plan,” Simmons said. “They are really just after millions of dollars in grants, donations and corporate scholarships.”

Simmons told WANE 15 his store and this new one could coexist to help stop food insecurity.

“This doesn’t stop us,” Simmons said. “We want them to have this grocery store here.”

When asked about objections to the new grocery, 6th District Councilwoman Sharon Tucker gave WANE 15 this statement:

The residents of southeast Fort Wayne and the 6th District have suffered by living in a food desert for far too long. The broader community has answered the call and provided help to address the needs within the district. I am thankful, proud and happy to report to my constituents that we have found a solution to suppling healthy food options to children and adults within the local community.

Sharon Tucker

Tucker has pushed the store forward at City Council in the past and joined Mayor Henry and Community Development Division Director Nancy Townsend to celebrate the beginning of its construction on Thursday.

The grand opening of the Pontiac Street Market is expected this fall.