FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) — Pontiac Street Market in the heart of 46806 has 8,000 grocery items and is still stocking, local officials said Thursday at a media tour before the Nov. 6 opening.
The 6,500 square foot grocery store, bigger than a bodega or corner grocery store but not as huge as a large chain food store, is going to be a neighborhood-friendly market with a sandwich counter run by Sodexo, tables to sit and chat and eat, and other amenities normally found at a market.
Underwritten by the city’s Redevelopment Commission and Fort Wayne City Council in upfront construction costs of $3.4 million, the funding includes $2 million in federal funds, $700,000 from local income taxes (LIT) and $700,000 from the Redevelopment Capital Fund.
Parkview, a partner, is providing upfront operating capital and reimbursing local funds over a five-year period, according to a news release provided by the city. The Hagerman Group donated a portion of their construction services.
Although the store wasn’t fully stocked Thursday, there were plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables filling the produce aisle and shelves stocked with canned and boxed goods. There were enough peanut butter and jelly choices to please nearly any client.
Laqueisha Brown, the store’s general manager, was attaching stickers to rows of pickles and vinegar. Donna Van Vlerah, the market’s board chair, said items were selected after conferring with local residents. There are recognizable names like Bush’s baked beans. Other generic items come from the supplier, UNFI.
“There’s a two-pronged strategy,” Van Vlerah said. “We talked to our advisory committee, talked to the community about things that they want. On things that are very popular to us, like a ketchup or a barbecue sauce, we wanted to make sure that we had the name brands of those products. You’ll see other products that are value-based.”
“As you go through the aisles, we have everyday essentials,” Van Vlerah said. “They are competitively priced a little bit below what you might find in other stores.” But they are not subsidized. The distributor is UNFI.
Democrat city councilwoman Sharon Tucker said residents are happily waiting for the store to open. The Pontiac Street Market has been designated as a “food desert” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and having a bonafide grocery market helps solve the problem.
In a live Facebook post, Tucker said anyone who spends $100 at the soft launch on Saturday will be given a turkey.
Mayor Tom Henry said there is a bus stop there and the store will offer delivery options in the future. Henry said one of the reasons the site was chosen is the population numbering several thousand and the area’s walkability.
Hours are Mon-Sat 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The SubConnection opens daily at 11 a.m.