Northside Binghamton grocery store serves thousands in first six months
BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) – The Greater Good Grocery store on Binghamton’s Northside opened earlier this year. For 25 years this part of town has been designated a food desert without access to fresh food.
“Now the only thing I don’t buy here is meat,” said Northside resident Kim Cole, who does her shopping at the store every week. “Other than that, this store meets all my needs. “
The store has produce, eggs, milk, dry goods, spices, frozen food and paper products, but fresh meat is the main item it lacks. They buy from wholesalers and try to price everything below market value.
Jack Seman, managing director of Greater Good Grocery, explained that he doesn’t want to stock an item if the cost is prohibitive.
“We are a business, we have to make a profit. If we make a profit making this item prohibitively expensive, there’s really no point in having it here, ”Seman said. “It’s really about finding the right supplier with the right cost, the right price so that we can serve the community with something at a reasonable price. “
More than 7,000 customers have shopped at Greater Good since opening on Jan. 4, above numbers expected for the entire first year. Funding for the store is covered for the first three years, but Seman hopes Greater Good Grocery will be self-sufficient before then.
Because it is a small store, he is able to talk to a lot of their customers.
“It’s great to speak with a client, someone who lives in the Northside, who states that he is no longer dependent on certain medications due to the access. Maybe they are walking here, ”Seman said.
The store is managed by the Church Broome County Councils. It is associated with Rural health network Prescription program for fruits and vegetables. Healthcare providers can prescribe a person a healthy diet, then that person receives vouchers to exchange for fruits and vegetables at the store.
According to the Council of Churches, just over 12,000 people live in the Northside, but the store is open to everyone for shopping.
Seman sees this first year as an opportunity to learn more about what people want in terms of food and other community needs. There is a desire for extended hours, which they plan to accommodate. For the moment the store is open Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.