CINCINNATI — What's old is now new again in the Bond Hill neighborhood. A minority-led organization along with several community partners are revitalizing the Bond Hill Market.
"This will not be your grandfather's grocery store," Eugene Ellington, President and CEO of Community Economic Advancement Initiatives (CEAI), said.
When WCPO 9 News went inside the Bond Hill Market on the corner of California and Oakdale, our crew was greeted by exposed wire, insulation coming from the ceilings, and cracked windows. But Ellington and his team at CEAI have a grand vision for the building.
"We want to make this a gathering place in our community, a place where people can be proud of," he said. "And we're just excited about what that's going to look like."
Plans for a commercial kitchen, small coffee shop, patio seating, an internet cafe, and a grocery store started coming together about nine moths ago. Now, Ellington is just waiting on the city to issue permits to start construvtion so the new Bond Hill Market can open by the fall, and in part breathe new life into the neighborhood.
"When we did our groundbreaking, there was a swell of people who are responding positively of the coming of the grocery store," Ellington said. "If you don't have a good food source in the community of people are then reluctant to move in."
Residents used to have a Kroger within about a five minute drive from where the new Bond Hill Market will be. But in April of 2010, Kroger closed it. The company said it was losing money. That's something Ellington says they don't have to worry about.
"All of our efforts go towards making sure that this grocery store is sustainable. Because of our not-for-profit status we have the opportunity to seek grants, to help mitigate the cost for operating the grocery store. We're looking to create partnerships with other food co-ops so that we can keep our prices affordable," he said.
After Kroger left, Save-A-Lot moved into a portion of the space. But getting to that plaza on Seymour Avenue is still pretty far for residents, especially those without reliable transportation.
The USDA's Food Access Research Atlas uses Census data to illustrate that area has several low-income residents without cars. The Save-A-Lot is nearly two miles away, which would force residents to walk more than an hour to the store and back home with groceries in hand.
Ellington says this grocery store will be a key component in building up Bond Hill.
"We have to make sure that we are creating wealth in our community and we want the community to be a part of that process," he said.