Market at 25th opens in Richmond food desert elating neighbors

RICHMOND, Va. -- The wait is over. The Market at 25th opened with much fanfare Monday morning at 25th Street and Fairmount Avenue in Richmond's East End.

The market will provide fresh food and produce to one of Richmond's food deserts where easy access to such food did not exist.

"It's a longtime coming," Church Hill neighbor Marilyn Campbell said. "Many other communities have been nurtured in the past. Church Hill is long overdue. Residents are in need of many other services and attention."

During the opening ceremony, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney urged neighbors to utilize the new space for more than just grocery shopping.

"This is more than just a building. More than a grocery store. It's a community hub. I want you to visit it every day," he said.

For Church Hill community leader Mary White Thompson, the opening marked the end of nearly a decade of work. She was part of a group that met to 2010 to determine community needs. Their list included exercise trails, an active Boys & Girls Club, a grocery store.

"I have always said, dreams do become a reality," she said. "Don't let anybody steal your dream. It can happen."

Theodore Cox, who has called Church Hill home for more than 30 years, said he would get in his car and drive to Shockoe Bottom or into Henrico County to shop for produce. He is happy he now won't have to leave the neighborhood and happier still for neighborhoods who don't have a car to aid in their grocery shopping needs.

"Everybody's always talking about at eat healthy, eat healthy, but how can you eat healthy when you don't have the food in your neighborhood?" he said. "So now that it's here, we should see a turnaround."

“We believe in caring deeply for our neighbors through respect, thoughtfulness, and authentic service,” the store’s website read. “We recognize the history of Church Hill and honor the traditions of generations past.”

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