Ground broken on new grocery store in Indy food desert

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INDIANAPOLIS — A hopeful solution to a food desert on the northeast side of Indianapolis is one step closer to arriving as ground was broken on the Indy Fresh Market Wednesday morning.

The store will be at the corner of 38th St. and Sheridan Ave. For neighbors nearby, it means a grocery store around the corner instead of miles away.

”I’ll be one of the first ones through the door,” said Randall Thomas, who lives just a few blocks from where Indy Fresh Market will be.

Thomas has lived in the neighborhoods near 38th and Sheridan all his life. His proximity to a grocery store has become a real issue in recent years.

”We have to drive so far out to get to a grocery store — at least five or six miles,” Thomas said.

This is an even bigger problem for him as he’s confined to his motorized wheelchair and does not have a handicap accessible vehicle.

”I’m just stuck, man,” Thomas said.

But, that is where the Indy Fresh Market comes in.

”I can’t believe it, I cannot believe it,” said Sue Lindsey, a lifelong resident of this area. “It’s one of the best things that could happen to this community.”

Cook Medical Company out of Bloomington is building a new manufacturing facility right now, and with it will come the grocery store. Between the two, around 120 jobs will be created in the community.

”We want to be a member of the community. We want to be an active member of the community, but we know that we can’t do this alone. This is a partnership,” said Pete Yonkman, Cook Medical president.

Yonkman and Cook will not be working alone. Local entrepreneurs Marckus Williams and Michael McFarland will manage the store with the plan for them to one day own it.

”We’re just returning the dignity to our neighborhood so people can have somewhere close to their home where they can get healthy food,” said McFarland.

Both men know this is a big step in solving the food dessert in their neighborhood.

”I’m just going to be glad to see a smile on their face, man. Happy they can get some food. They don’t have to go too far to get it, they don’t have to go through too many obstacles to get it,” said Williams.

So far, there is no set date for the opening of the grocery store. McFarland said the plan is to open sometime between spring and fall of 2022.

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