‘What about us?’ | Lack of Grocery Choices An issue for components of Greensboro
Large grocery chains have recently set up shop on the west side of the city, leaving the neighbors on the east side with little or no choice.
GREENSBORO, NC – With grocery stores like Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, Lidl, and Publix opening their doors and preparing to start up in Greensboro, some neighbors have more options.
The recent influx of some grocery retailers has accumulated in one part of the city, the west. Most of the city’s grocery stores are within 10 miles. In some areas there are very few or none at all. Many residents of these areas, such as East Greensboro, have to travel a distance or find multiple shops to meet their basic food needs.
“When I go shopping for groceries, it goes to Walmart, about two or two and a half miles down Cone Boulevard,” said Louise Cobb, 80, of Greensboro, who has a steady income.
Cobb says her daughter has had to spend about $ 150 to $ 200 of her limited money on groceries each month since her daughter died last year. While there is a Food Lion a little more than a mile from her home, she says she takes time to go to several other stores further from home to get everything she needs.
“When I finish my bills I don’t have a lot to buy, so I get exactly the things I definitely need from Walmart, which is cheaper, and my meat, but when I get to Food Lion I get those really necessary things that I need, “added Cobb.
Experts cite areas like East Greensboro Food Deserts and it is one of 17 in Greensboro with a total of 24 in Guilford County.
RELATED: Greensboro Farmers Market Launched to Combat Food Deserts
The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines a food wasteland as a high-poverty residential area where at least one-third of its residents live more than a mile from a grocery store.
“If you have transportation problems getting on a bus to get to the grocery store across town, you can’t access the types of services you’re looking for,” said Sharon Hightower, Greensboro city council member.
Proponents of East Greensboro residents say it’s great that developers are helping bring these grocery stores in, but they’re ignoring other key parts of the city.
“If you put two or three grocery stores in and they all open on the same day and are in almost the same area, they have to look east and that’s where the growth comes in,” added Hightower, who said the stigma is about the spread of crime also worked against the region.
Other proponents say that developers and businesses are missing out on an opportunity by ignoring such areas of great need and saturating them on only one side of the city.
“One of our studies three or four years ago found that in East Greensboro we had the third highest purchasing power in the City Of Greensboro, so there is a tremendous need not just for grocery stores but for other services as well,” said Mac Sims, president. East Greensboro Now, a community development organization.
The neighbors say they would welcome more options than their counterparts on the west side of the city.
“My travel time could be cut in half. Sometimes I have to go to the Food Lion at the Golden Gate because the Food Lion on the Eastern Market sometimes doesn’t have what I’m looking for,” said Maurice Brooks, who is near the square that once housed the Renaissance Co-op was located on Phillips Avenue.
“I’d love to have one right there,” said Brooks, pointing to the vacant space in Renaissance Shops Plaza.
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