Community members react to possibility of local market coming to North Church Hill

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RICHMOND, Va. – Residents of Richmond’s North Church Hill neighborhood’s East End have access to small markets to shop for food, but they are spread out and for some transportation can be an issue. Tuesday a zoning application was made for a new grocery store that will provide the community a one-stop shop for their needs.

"Finally! This community will have a centrally located, easily accessible, full service grocery store," said Cynthia Newbille, Councilwoman for the 7th district.

Richmond's North Church Hill neighborhood off  Nine Mile Road and North 25th Street, could soon be the location of a new grocery store:  Jim's Local Market.

The store is a supermarket that provides "quality," local food to an area in Virginia with limited fresh food access. That news was received with mix reviews in the community.

grocery stores in church hill

"I believe it's a good idea. A lot of people around here need a place like that. It advances the community," said resident Mubarek Abozaid.

"We have plenty of grocery stores around here. They could find something else to do with that area," said Shekelia Burchette.

But that's not necessarily true.

The nearest big chain grocery store is over a mile away for at least 33 percent of the census tract's population in a non-rural area.

That's considered to be a “food desert” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

"We have one full grocery store in our community for almost 30,000. And so to have a centrally-located accessible grocery store, that's full service becomes really critical and really an asset for the community," said Newbille.

Jim's local market

Other positives the supermarket will bring: money and jobs.

"When they bring a big store like that it brings small stores and that makes it economically advanced and the area will benefit from it,” Abozaid explained.

Newbille said it, "also creates employment opportunities for the residents in our community. For the youth, for the adults, and that's an important element as well."

Newbille also said she would like a groundbreaking ceremony to take place sometime next month. She also hoping Jim's Local Market will be up and running 18 months from now.

First, the zoning application must go through a months-long approval process before construction can begin.