ALLIANCE – StarkFresh has secured funding from the Geraldine Burnell-Brotzman Charitable Fund of the Greater Alliance Foundation to expand its services to Alliance as part of the renovated Alliance Commons.
For the past year, the Greater Alliance Foundation and the Regula Center at Mount Union have been supporting the Commons and have been instrumental in bringing to fruition a StarkFresh location in the facility alongside multiple other agencies. This recent grant will cover the remaining expenses related to securing the necessary equipment for StarkFresh to open in the Commons located at 405 S Linden Avenue.
The neighborhood surrounding The Commons is what the US Department of Agriculture defines as a “food desert” which is a tract in an urban area in which 100 or more households are located at least one half-mile from the nearest supermarket. This makes the opening of StarkFresh an important addition for The Commons and the community.
Tom Phillips, executive director of StarkFresh, says that there are several multi-layered reasons as to why food desert areas are without access to groceries, but foot traffic is a significant factor. That is why StarkFresh’s unique business model focuses on breaking even rather than having to meet corporate profit margins.
“The inherent difference in our business model, and the fact that it is being run by a nonprofit organization, allows us to keep prices fair and prioritize mission over profit,” said Phillips. “Each neighborhood grocery store is designed to meet the immediate needs of the community in which it is located, and it works when we have great community partners like those in The Commons and the Greater Alliance Foundation.”
“The University of Mount Union is dedicated to partnering with organizations and businesses throughout Stark County to create and enhance services for members of our community,” said Greg King, president of Mount Union. “We are excited to be part of bringing the Commons to life and are eager to see StarkFresh open their Alliance location.”
“The value StarkFresh adds to our facility is immeasurable and I cannot wait to see continued growth at the Commons,” said Abby Schroeder, director of Mount Union’s Regula Center for Public Service and Mount Union liaison at The Commons.
Slated to open in September, the StarkFresh location will join the YWCA Career and Fashion Boutique, Men’s Challenge, Sports Outreach and Mount Union as anchor partners in The Commons. More information can be found on The Commons Facebook page.