Morning Headlines: It’s Cold Outside, But Inside Shop Rite, There’s Dancing in the Aisles

The old Tastykake factory has much more than krimpets to offer now.

shop rite

Photo by Maria Pouchnikova for Axis Philly

There were some who mourned the closure of the Tasty Baking factor in North Philadelphia, and wondered about the viability of Bakers Square, the shopping center that took its place. And though it took a long time to materialize, as these things do, the development has brought real meaning of a kind strip malls don’t typically provide.

The anchor supermarket Shop Rite, writes Natalie Pompilio for Axis Philly, is a purveyor of high-quality food in what used to be a food desert on the boundaries of four neighborhoods: Allegheny West, East Falls, Nicetown-Tioga and Hunting Park. Before the store opened, the nearest supermarket was two miles away. Two miles.

The options people did have were terrible. Says employee Tyrone Page Jr.: “The fruit was hot, the stuff was bad. They say how inner city children are obese. But what are they going to eat? All they have are chips and Chinese food.”

Page is just one of many neighborhood residents who got jobs when they thought they’d never be able to work — in his case, because of a criminal record. At Shop Rite, he got a second chance, while other employees, like single mothers, get accommodations for crowded schedules.

Finally, the store serves as a gathering place and ad hoc community center, where people from the adjacent neighborhoods get to see each other and discuss issues or tell stories. All I can say is, thank goodness Donald Trump was not successful in building a casino there.

The center of hope [Axis Philly]

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Um…here’s a summation of the headlines today: HOLY CRAP. LOOK AT ALL THAT SNOW.