INDIANAPOLIS — A new study projects a new grocery store that opens late next year will pump millions of dollars into the Indianapolis economy.
The Indy Fresh Market, under construction right now at East 38th Street and North Sheridan Avenue, is being built in what's currently a food desert. Researchers and neighbors say it's key to a larger revitalization for Arlington Woods, a neighborhood on the city's northeast side.
The Indy Fresh Market is going up right near Bloomington-based Cook Medical's new manufacturing facility, which opened in the spring.
It's part of a community and corporate collaboration called the 38th and Sheridan Project.
Wayne Redeemar lives in the area and works at Cook, making the very product he received after a heart attack.
"I didn't know what a Cook service was. I didn't know what a Cook Medical device was," Redeemar said. "And then actually less than a year later, I was making a device that saved my life."
Now he believes this grocery store will help save his neighborhood.
It'll be locally owned and operated by Michael McFarland and Marckus Williams, who grew up in the area. The Indy Fresh Market will be offering quality food for families, in what's now a food desert.
"This is going to improve because you have good products. Produce is number one," Redeemar said. "The thing of it is, people up north get better things than we get in the neighborhood. This is designed where the people can get the same produce from up north and in the east because right now, the only thing they got is Save-A-Lot. Plus, you've got jobs here. And this creates what? Revenue. And how do you help people? By economic and turning them around and giving them somewhere to look forward to each and every day."
Wayne is no economist, but he's right on the money.
Researchers from the IU Public Policy Institute just released an economic impact study for the grocery store. Projections are, it's going to be big.
"Our study found that the construction of the grocery store will contribute a little over $11 million of economic activity to the community and Marion County," explained IU Public Policy Institute director Tom Guevara.
He says the impact will add another $4.5 million a year once it's open.
This is a unique economic development project.
Others in the collaboration include Martin University, Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana and Impact Central Indiana.
Cook Medical didn't just offer jobs. The company asked for neighborhood input and learned in order to get a great, reliable workforce, neighbors need a great community.
Cook was willing to invest to make that happen.
"They needed to be able to address barriers that might get in the way. And the first thing they heard about was, of course, not having grocery stores close by to where people live," Guevara said. "They said, 'We're like any company. We're here to do good business. But that doesn't mean we can't do good for the community at the same time.'"
So this grocery store, researchers say, will have an impactful return on investment, with money and quality of life.
Wayne Redeemar (though not an economist) just might explain it best.
"This gives people resources. And if people have resources, they can do something," he said. "They're giving them food. That's saving lives. We're making medical products. We're saving lives!"
To learn more about the 38th and Sheridan Project, including the Indy Fresh Market, click here.