Chester Hasn’t Had a Single Grocery Store For 10 Years. Now it Does.

Fare and Square sets up shop in one of the region's worst food deserts.

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The impoverished city of Chester has been trying for more than a decade to get a supermarket to feed its 37,000 residents, many of whom are impoverished. Bust since the last one closed in 2001, there have only been false starts. The highest profile came when the Philadelphia Union soccer stadium was built; the deal was supposed to include mixed-use retail development, featuring a supermarket. Now, thanks to local anti-hunger non-profit Philabundance (and $7 million in financial backing from local governments and foundations), it’s finally happening.

Anyone can shop at the 16,000-square-foot store, with a cheery purple-and-iguana-green color scheme. But low-income people will be offered an advantage. Shoppers with annual incomes equal to or less than twice the federal poverty level of around $23,000 for a family of four can accrue 7 percent store credit each time they shop, to be applied toward future purchases.

The supermarket is supposed to create 69 jobs and will offer prices 8-10% lower than other local markets. As Technically Philly notes, Chester is one of several food deserts in the region. Philabundance, using GIS mapping, pinpointed the region’s most severe deserts, eventually settling on the lower Delco city. [Inquirer]