One store, four visions: Hill District residents to score grocery proposals

From live seafood to hardware, residents weigh options for Shop ‘n Save site

by Rich Lord, PublicSource

Two and a half years after the Hill District’s Shop ‘n Save closed, the neighborhood is weighing four pitches from entrepreneurs hoping to occupy the vacant bulk of a shopping plaza at Centre Avenue and Heldman Street.

Would-be retailers made markedly different offers to more than 100 participants in a virtual community meeting run by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. The URA bought the site in November 2019, after Shop ‘n Save failed, and has pledged to consider results from a neighborhood scoring process before picking a new tenant. The Hill Community Development Corp. also facilitated the meeting.

In the virtual display window:

  • A health-focused store by Denver-based start-up Family Tree Food Market would include an in-house dietician and offer help accessing social services. “We are ready to open our store in March of 2022. That’s how committed we are,” said Daniel Craddock, a co-owner of the company with roots in the Hill.
  • A hybrid food and hardware co-op would be governed by employees and shoppers and spearheaded by a coalition of Hill residents led by Samuel Pierre and Claudy Pierre of Pierre Development. By fulfilling two needs, they would bring multiple revenue streams to the area, and the co-op structure would keep the proceeds in the Hill, the Pierres said.
  • A  Fresh International Market would be the seventh in the small Midwestern chain, and would feature an affordable mix of produce, fresh and live seafood and dry goods. It would also include a juice bar and a bakery — but would not have expensive offerings like $6 organic avocados, said Bowen Kou, president of the company.
  • Locally raised and processed meats would be a centerpiece of Salem’s Market and Grill, conceived of as the second location for the family-owned Strip District company. “This is an opportunity to be part of history by contributing to the monumental efforts of the Hill CDC and the community as a whole,” said Abdullah Salem, an owner.

Residents have until month’s end to fill out the scorecard.

An artist’s rendering of the proposed Hill Food Co-Op, presented at a meeting for Hill District residents regarding options for the Centre Heldman Plaza grocery store space. (Screenshot)


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