The Indy Fresh Market grocery store expected to open in late 2023 as part of the broader revitalization of the 38th Street and Sheridan Avenue area could have a one-time economic impact of $11.1 million, as well as an annual impact of $4.6 million in wages, benefits and other spending.
The estimates were revealed Monday with the unveiling of an economic impact study by the Indiana University Public Policy Institute.
The 16,700-square-foot store will be located at 6190 E. 38th St. It would employ 39 people, and another 22 full-time-equivalent jobs would be created for related businesses due to the store’s operations, according to the study.
Players in the public-private partnership that has led to the creation of a Cook Medical manufacturing plant in the Arlington Woods neighborhood are also behind the plans for the Fresh Market, to be located next door.
Bloomington-based Cook Medical will build the store, with the goal of using 100% minority-owned contractors. Other partners in the collaboration are Impact Central Indiana, Martin University and Goodwill of Central & Southern Indiana.
Goodwill will provide wrap-around services to employees, including housing support, legal aid, and health care.
Indy Fresh Market aims to increase food access in the Arlington Woods neighborhood. The area is classified as a food desert, which means most residents live over a mile from a grocery store. According to the study, 47% of Marion County residents live in a food desert.
“Through neighborhood meetings and conversations around the development of the manufacturing facility, we recognized that lack of access to fresh food options is a stumbling block to residents’ success,” said Pete Yonkman, president of Cook Medical.
The $11.1 million estimate for one-time impact is based on an initial investment of $7 million for construction, land, and equipment, plus an additional $4.1 million of “indirect and induced economic activity,” according to the report.
Michael McFarland and Marckus Williams, former owners of the 2,000-square-foot Wall Street Convenience, will operate the store and eventually become owners. McFarland, 36, was shocked to see community grocery stores shuttered when he returned home from his seven-year stint in the military.
“I was just really devastated and I didn’t really understand how a city like Indianapolis can have problems like this,” McFarland said.
Both McFarland and Williams will attend Martin University to increase their business education as the university creates a retail certification program.
The store was announced in May 2021 and is scheduled to be complete in late 2023.