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Pouring into their own community: The making of Indy Fresh Market

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The doors of Indy Fresh Market opened Sept. 27 at 7 a.m., welcoming the Indianapolis community and more. With no supermarket for miles in each direction, Cook Medical, a global medical device manufacturer in Indiana, worked with leaders on the northeast side of Indianapolis (United Northeast Community Development Corporation) to develop a manufacturing facility in the neighborhood. While in the process, leaders recognized the issue of food insecurity. The United Northeast CDC is in a food desert – a low-income area where at least a third of residents live more than a mile from a supermarket.

To address the issue of food insecurity, the market’s co-owners and community residents, Michael McFarland and Markus Williams, underwent a multiyear training program to prepare them for this opportunity. Williams said that the market had been in the works since 2020.

Indy Fresh Market
(Photos/Indianapolis Recorder)

“This store has been in the planning process for about three years,” said Williams. “We need food around here. Kroger is gone. Safeway is gone. Walmart is gone. The closest store is five miles away, so we have to do something to provide for our community.”

The 16,772 square-foot grocery store is a $3.6 million project. Cook Medical built the store and IMPACT Central Indiana will invest funds to provide capital and inventory. The market is a statewide collaboration between Cook Medical, IMPACT, Martin University, United Northeast CDC, Goodwill, neighborhood leaders, the City of Indianapolis and national grocery store expert Joe the Grocer.

Since its opening, Indy Fresh Market has employed more than 40 people, including neighborhood residents like Bobby Williams, who works as a receiver in the market.

“I’m not from the area, but I’m in the area; so, it means a lot working here. Having a grocery store in the community, it has given people opportunities,” Bobby Williams said.

Employees will have access to Goodwill’s wrap-around services, such as housing support, legal aid, mental/physical healthcare and soft skills training.

Indy Fresh Market

Promotion within the company is important to both McFarland and Markus Williams.

“You might be a stocker today, but you could be a manager or supervisor tomorrow. These are our people,” said McFarland.

On opening day, Williams and McFarland were both filled with joy.

“They’re going crazy. They love it. I feel like I accomplished something for the community,” said Markus Williams.

Indy Fresh Market

Indy Fresh Market is located at 6160 E. 38th St. and is open daily from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. To shop online, apply for a job, learn about them or support the community, visit www.indyfreshmarket.com.

Contact staff writer Braxton Babb at (317) 762-7854 or by email at BraxtonB@IndyRecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @BLIEVESHEWRITES. For more news on the Indy Fresh Market from the Indianapolis Recorder, click here.

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