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Survey Shows Support for Quad Communities Market

The development of a fresh-food market in Bronzeville is part of a broader effort that NCP lead agency Quad Communities Development Corporation (QCDC) has been leading to expand retail and entertainment options in the community — and a recent community survey shows the concept holds significant promise.

Currently, the vast majority of food-related businesses within the Quad Communities are limited to service and low-end grocers and fast-food restaurants. While the supply of quality food is low, the demand is high.

In 2004, according to a study completed by LISC/MetroEdge, an urban market research firm, $26.8 million in food related spending by local residents was done outside of the Quad Communities of North Kenwood, Oakland, Douglas and Grand Boulevard.

Also, two of the four neighborhoods within the Quad Communities, as well as four adjacent communities, have been identified as food deserts — having little or no access to grocery stores — in researcher Mari Gallagher's report, "Examining the Impact of Food Deserts on Public Health in Chicago."

After years of aggressive, unsuccessful marketing and outreach to high-quality regional grocers, QCDC decided to lead the creation of a local market where residents and visitors can purchase healthy fresh and prepared foods.

QCDC began the market planning and development process in August of 2007 by partnering with Sustain, an organization that works to connect local farmers and consumers, and O-H Community Partners, an economic development consulting firm.

Together they conducted two focus groups and administered nearly 200 surveys to local residents and daytime workers. The results of this survey are presented here.

Key Community Survey Findings:

There is a tremendous unmet need for fresh, quality food in Bronzeville

  • Approximately 200 respondents were surveyed and at least 400 persons potentially impacted
  • The vast majority of respondents are African American women that reside in Bronzeville
  • Only 6 percent of respondents selected community area stores as their top produce provider
  • Most respondents regularly purchase poultry, dairy and eggs, fish/seafood, and beef
  • 84 percent of respondents drive to their shopping destinations
  • 73 percent of respondents have shopped at a farmers' market; however, 27 percent of respondents have not largely due to inconvenient locations and lack of awareness. 36 percent of foods purchased from farmers' markets are organic.
  • Respondents across all income segments reported that they would shop at a farmers' market in Bronzeville. Only 2 percent of respondents reported that they would not shop at a farmers' market in Bronzeville

The local customer base is economically diverse and spends frequently and handsomely on groceries

  • Nearly 50 percent of respondents report household incomes of $50,000 or above, of which nearly half report incomes of $100,000+
  • African Americans are well represented across all income segments
  • 53 percent of respondents shop on weekends and 68 percent shop at least once a week
  • Approximately 47 percent of respondents spend $31 or more per week on produce
  • The majority of respondents prefer the cash payment option; however, 50 percent of respondents would like the option of paying with credit

Customers overwhelming prefer fresh foods; however they also require a mix of locally and non-locally grown produce

  • 93 percent of respondents prefer fresh produce
  • The top 10 regularly purchased vegetables are locally grown; however, 3 of the top 5 regularly purchased fruits are not locally grown

Customers will shop at a farmers market located in the community that operates on Sunday with a diverse array of educational and entertainment activities and events

  • Respondents prefer 35th and King Drive and Cottage Grove Avenue locations for a farmers' market
  • Only 12 percent of respondents reported that they will not shop on Sundays
  • 20 percent to 40 percent of respondents would like to see kids activities, an antique market, music, and cooking demonstrations

Please click here to download the full report.

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