Pennsylvania Recruits Supermarkets

May 05, 2004
George Anderson

By George Anderson

An editorial in the Philadelphia Inquirer gives credit to the Pennsylvania Governor’s office and state legislators for the portion of an economic stimulus program that seeks to attract supermarkets to underserved markets in urban and rural areas by offering developers low-interest loans and grants.

The editorial says the need for more stores in low-income areas is glaring. “Not having access to a supermarket with a large variety of foods and lower prices hurts residents’ health and economic welfare, not to mention a neighborhood’s economic vitality and housing prices.”

Nine neighborhoods within Philadelphia are among the sites identified as needing a grocery store.

Jeffrey Brown, owner of six ShopRite stores in the Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey area, has indicated a willingness to open stores in North and West Philly.

Mr. Brown makes clear, however, there is a price to be paid to make the gamble worthwhile for he and his company. According to the editorial, Mr. Brown “estimates it costs $200,000 upfront and $150,000 annually to ensure the safety of customers in higher-crime areas.” Government programs that help offset those costs, he feels, would be an absolute requirement to gamble on a venture of this sort.

Moderator’s Comment: What are your thoughts on tax dollars being spent to attract supermarkets to underserved areas?

Certainly makes better sense to us than giving millions to a sports franchise to build a new arena in a downtown area when kids going to school there are
forced to share books because there supposedly isn’t enough money to buy them.

George Anderson – Moderator

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