Springfield grocery store owners propose to donate profits back to the community
Groceryland has been in business for nearly six months. It opened late last year at the location of a former Kroger supermarket on South Limestone Street.
The former Kroger closed in March 2020 leaving community members and government leaders figuring out how to find a replacement after the closure limited access to fresh groceries in the area.
In less than two years, with the help of the Clark County Land Reutilization Corporation, and after several months of negotiations, the city sold the land to Groceryland.
With the market in operation, it’s helped fill the gap of healthy food access in the area. But some wealth and health disparities still remain. For instance, in the 44505 zip code — where the store is located— the median household income is $27,000 — nearly half the state's median.
South Springfield neighborhoods, which are predominantly Black and brown communities, are more likely to have increased health diseases associated with low household income. Communities of color also lack access to some of the resources more affluent communities have, according to Vipul Patel, a local physician and co-owner of the market.
Having practiced medicine in Springfield for 20 years, Patel said he’s become increasingly aware of the needs of the community he treats. He added the goal was always to support the community beyond just running a grocery store when Groceryland opened.
“When you see the disparity, that's when you realize that the world is not fair to everybody. And sometimes to make the world fair, we have to take extra steps and help people who are disadvantaged or who are not privileged,” Patel said.
The exact number for the market’s total net profits are still up in the air as it keeps operating through the year.
By the end of the year, Groceryland is promising to find community partners to donate its profits towards local food pantries and religious organizations helping the community. It would also create funds in the form of scholarships for local high school students to attend nearby colleges like Clark State or Wright State University.
The grocery store will also be looking for partners to donate any food that doesn’t sell to organizations that can then distribute it to local community members that need it.
“Everybody has a different path, and sometimes we are a product of our environment. And if I can change the environment for one person to help them grow better, I want to take that opportunity.” Patel said.
Food reporter Alejandro Figueroa is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Support for WYSO's reporting on food and food insecurity in the Miami Valley comes from the CareSource Foundation.