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Meet The Detroit Man Opening The City's First Black-Owned Grocery Store Since 2014
Raphael Wright, a Black man, is on a mission to fight food insecurity and make sure that people in one Detroit community have access to healthy options.
“I’ve been on a journey to open a full-service grocery store in an underserved community in Detroit,” said Wright. “The grocery store concept I’ve developed in this time is that of a ‘smart’ grocery store which is small format, tech-driven, community engaging, and culturally connected.”
Wright’s goal with the store is to create a space that represents the community it serves. There are more than 70 grocery stores in the city, but most people head to the suburbs to shop for food.
A 2012 Fair Food Network study found Detroiters spent an estimated $200 million on food in the suburbs, citing the city stores’ poor condition as motivation for doing so. Wright wants to change that, especially for residents who don’t have the means to travel.
“Having healthy food in the proximity where you live is important to building up a community, and it’s a matter of life and death,” said Wright in an interview. “Many people in Detroit don’t have a car. So they are restricted to convenience stores, fast food restaurants, places that are in proximity to where they live.”
Wright has turned to crowdsourcing on GoFundMe for raising money for the store. He has a goal of raising $100K and has already raised more than $82,000 at the time of this report.
The store will offer fresh produce, prepared foods, common staple goods, beauty care products. and more, according to GoFundMe.
Wright has already secured a distributor, full business plan, operating plan, a marketing plan, and more. Neighborhood Grocery is expected to open in the summer or fall of 2021.