Access to Affordable, Healthy Food Returns to Camden

    • October 15, 2014
The produce section of a supermarket.

Camden, N.J.—Camden residents today celebrated the opening of a new Price Rite supermarket in their community, a project that brings back to life a once dark supermarket that anchors a local retail center. The Price Rite received financing through the New Jersey Food Access Initiative (NJFAI), a financing program created by The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) to help improve access to healthy foods in underserved communities across the state. NJFAI’s other investors include Living Cities, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

“We are so pleased to have a role in bringing a critical asset to this community,” shared Don Hinkle-Brown, TRF’s CEO. “For close to three decades, TRF has worked in Camden helping build affordable housing and community facilities. This project represents an important cornerstone in our efforts to help revitalize Camden. Not only will the store increase access to healthy affordable food but it is also bringing much-needed new jobs.”

This Camden community lost its ability to easily attain fresh produce when the neighborhood’s only full-service supermarket closed last year. The introduction of a new Price Rite to the community promises to be a first step in fulfilling this need. TRF worked with Ravitz Family Markets to help finance the Price Rite. It will be located in the Fairview neighborhood of southeast Camden along Mount Ephraim Avenue. The Ravitz family currently owns five ShopRite stores in Burlington and Camden Counties with plans to open another location in Camden in 2016.   

The Price Rite is projected to serve 14,500 people in its trade area, 45 percent of whom live in Limited Supermarket Access areas. The store will provide a full selection of fresh fruits and vegetables along with seafood, meats (including Halal meats), dairy and other grocery products to the area which is currently underserved. By decreasing operating expenses and offering less variety of products, the Price Rite business model ensures that community members are able to easily access and afford healthy foods while also getting quality products. The supermarket also expects to create 80+ full and part-time jobs, most of which are also union jobs.

“RWJF is proud to support the NJ Food Access Initiative” explained Marco Navarro, senior program officer with RWJF. “This innovative financing program has helped make access to affordable, healthful food easier for residents in many New Jersey communities. The return of a supermarket to Camden signifies one more community in the state working together to build a Culture of Health to help residents live longer, healthier lives.”

In order to bring the supermarket to the area, TRF provided Ravitz Family Markets with a grant to help close a gap in the project budget. The money was used to cover staff training and predevelopment costs. Along with TD Bank and the NJ Economic Development Authority, TRF financing helped the Price Rite move forward to develop the 43,000-square-foot store, which includes more environmentally friendly features such as glass doors on dairy cases and energy efficient lighting.

To date NJFAI has provided over $9.4 million in financing to 8 healthy food access projects across the state.

About The Reinvestment Fund

TRF is a national leader in rebuilding America’s distressed towns and cities and does this work through the innovative use of capital and information. TRF has made $1.38 billion in community investments since 1985. As a CDFI, TRF finances projects related to housing, community facilities, food access, commercial real estate, and energy efficiency. It also provides public-policy expertise by helping clients create practical solutions and by sharing data and analyses via www.PolicyMap.com. To learn more about TRF, visit trfund.com. Follow us on Twitter @trfund or Facebook at facebook.com/TRFund.

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

Media Contacts

Melissa Blair

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (609) 627-5937

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