Northwest Jacksonville Food Desert Getting Grocery

After years of trying to lure large grocery chains to the food wasteland of northwest Jacksonville, a project for a locally owned and operated business is in the works.

After years of trying to lure large grocery chains to the food wasteland of northwest Jacksonville, a project for a locally owned and operated business is in the works.

The grocery store is the work of a few local nonprofits that are focused on creating a “community owned” grocery store with healthier food choices. Paul Tutwiler, CEO of Northwest Jacksonville Community Development Corporation, is working to make Northwest Jacksonville better by adding the business.

“We just want to offer them the opportunity to buy the best and healthiest food,” says Tutwiler.

He says several major grocery chains considered northwest Jacksonville but ultimately decided against it due to the lack of income for the residents. This became a problem for the neighborhood.

“Unfortunately, families have to go to convenience stores and eat snacks and processed foods,” he says.

Tutwiler believes that adding the business will benefit the neighborhood by creating more jobs, offering healthier options, and keeping local money local. The store is expected to be groundbreaking in late summer and open the following year. The business will employ around 40 people.

Northwest Jacksonville-based mother of two daughters, Tiny Walker, spends nearly an hour a week getting to the grocery store.

“I spend 45 minutes to an hour driving to Walmart at the airport,” says Walker. “It would be better for me to come right here.”

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