The study concluded, on the basis of well accepted statistical analysis, that the East End has substantial untapped buying power and an average-sized store could sustain itself and potentially generate $7 million to $10 million in revenues per year.
In short, having an extra aisle of chips and dip is not a replacement for a grocery store.
Any unfavorable market conditions that Fas Chek and Kroger walked away from in 1999 and 2001, respectively, have clearly been replaced
by a vibrant neighborhood
with passionate residents who share a very real sense of community.
Why should government get involved and attempt to stimulate the market?
As we wonder why West Virginia is consistently ranked near last nationally in measures of general health, well being, obesity, and other preventable diet-related illness, a lack of access to healthy food must be considered.
There is no better illustration of this than the neighborhood surrounding our state Capitol.
Much of the vacant land on the East End is owned by the Charleston Urban Renewal Authority.
Using that resource to support the private market, putting publicly owned land back on the tax rolls and helping to establish a business that creates jobs, economic activity and additional tax base are all strong arguments in favor of government stimulation.
Developers, small and large business owners, residents, and government officials can all agree that the East End is a great place to make a sound investment. The last 10 years have proved that what was once thought to be impossible can happen through creative partnerships, a lot of hard work, and following a collective vision.
Recruiting a full-service grocery store or supermarket is something that must be done to ensure the needs of all of our residents can be met, and to provide another anchor destination that will continue the ongoing revitalization of Charleston's oldest and most diverse neighborhood and business district.
Cavender is executive director of Charleston East End Main Street Gould is the president of its board. Weintraub, a city councilman, is vice president of the board and chairman of its grocery store task force. All are East End residents.