Business , Community , Health

Syracuse Food Desert Finds An Oasis

The South Ave. area of Syracuse has not seen a full service grocery store in quite some time. NCC’s Omneya Aboushanab has more on how a Price Rite is helping rebuild this Syracuse ‘food desert.’

By Omneya Aboushanab Syracuse, N.Y. (NCC News)— The South Avenue area of the City of Syracuse, better known as the ‘Southside,’ has been a food desert for over 40 years.

According to President of The Syracuse City Common Council, Van Robinson, the ‘Southside’ is really one big area that covers ground from Erie Boulevard all the way to Dorwin Avenue, which is the city line.

Many mistake the Southside for being just a small portion of the city surrounding South Ave. People also often think that the area has always been lacking in business. Robinson said that in the 1950s and 60s South Ave. was actually thriving.

Unfortunately when a lot of the family owned business and operations left that side of town, it remained vacant for a while, and now is not as lively as it once was. While some of the neighborhoods on the Southside could use some help said Robinson, they all shouldn’t be categorized as ‘hopeless’ or ‘failing.’

The Southside actually is home to the largest employer in the county, Upstate, along with many other successful businesses and ventures.

This specific neighborhood, like many others in Syracuse, was lacking a full service grocery store. Meaning, its residents were forced to eat almost all of their meals from local corner stores.

While any food is better than no food, families did not have access to fresh fruits and vegetables, or fresh meat. Syracuse as a whole leads the nation in the poverty rates among children, as well as extremely high obesity rates.

Food deserts like South Ave.’s can be considered a leading cause to this. Kids are used to eating processed foods from the corner store, with high amounts of sugar, instead of homemade meals with the right servings of vegetables/fruits and proteins.

“If you ask a kid what his favorite restaurant is, he’ll point to the corner store down the street,” said Robinson.

Last year plans to open a Price Rite grocery store were announced, and now the opening is approaching. In a press release from the President of Price Rite Supermarkets, Neil Duffy, it was said that Price Rite looks forward to welcoming the South Avenue community to the Price Rite family.

So, not only will the Price Rite make fresh foods readily available to the poverty stricken community, but it is also adding to the economic value of the neighborhood with the amount of positions that will be available.

Families with no cars around South Ave. will now be able to access a full-line grocery store whenever they need to. Price Rite claims that they proved leading national brands in their store, while also helping customers save nearly 50% on their grocery bills.

Price Rite will be looking to fill cashier, stocking, produce, deli and meat department teams, as well as some supervisory positions. In a news release they confirmed they will be hiring around 100 employees.

This will be the second Price Rite in Syracuse, following the one that was opened on the Northwest corner of Erie Boulevard and Teall Avenue in 2012.

The new Price Rite is located at 611 South Ave. and  is set to open in April.

The building actually used to be a Loblaws supermarket, until it closed down in 1970. The actual property is owned by Jubilee Homes of Syracuse Inc. Jubilee Homes is a non-profit organization that put in a huge effort to make the supermarket possible on South Ave. Price Rite is opening in partnership with Jubilee Homes.

For more information on Price Rite and to access the online job applications visit:  priceritesupermarkets.com