In January 2010, People’s Grocery took the first step in accomplishing a long-term goal of ours, opening a full-service grocery store in West Oakland. We spun off People’s Community Market, whose CEO is our Co-Founder Brahm Ahmadi. Upon opening, they will be our main for-profit partner in West Oakland.
People’s Community Market (PCM) is being designed from an understanding of customer needs and interests in West Oakland.
Building: The store will be housed in a 12,000 square foot fresh food pavilion. Rather than a traditional brick and mortar building, the pavilion will be built from lightweight and minimal materials and will include prefabricated components. This will reduce the time and cost for construction, as well as provide for a unique shopping experience. The pavilion will feature an open-air shopping environment in which portions of the pavilion are open to the outside in good weather. This will allow for more fresh air, cross ventilation and natural light. It will also make the store more visible and inviting from the street. PCM is working with Lowney Architecture, Pankow Builders and UNFI Store Development Services.
Location: PCM has identified an optimal location that’s central to the neighborhood. The site is at a very busy intersection, is surrounded by the highest population density in the area and has good access by foot and public transportation. And the property owners are very interested in leasing to PCM once they’ve secured adequate financing.
Assortment: People’s Community Market will offer a full-line product assortment with a broad selection of food products across many categories. The store will carry about 40% of the products carried by supermarkets in order to match their merchandising to the smaller purchases typically seen among low-income shoppers and shoppers traveling on foot or by public transportation. They’ll offer organic, conventional and ethnic products across all categories to provide relevant offerings to the many diverse segments of the community.
Fresh Foods: Their signature offering will be their great selection of fresh foods. Their produce will include seasonal and local items and will be sourced from both regional distributors and directly from growers. They’ll also feature self-service perishable products including meat, seafood, dairy and cheese that will be organized by meal types (i.e. meats for breakfast).
Prepared Foods: Because West Oakland lacks family oriented restaurants, their full-service deli and café will be a central aspect of the store and will feature a unique menu of hot and cold prepared foods, as well as grab-and-go single serve and family-pack meals, targeted to the cultural interests of the local area. Examples of their menu include gumbo, jambalaya, enchilada, pozole, mac & cheese, BBQ, seasonal salads, and made to order sandwiches. It’s going to be good!
Customer Service: In addition to great food products they’ll provide outstanding customer service that’s centered on being caring, community oriented, and knowledgeable. Both PCM and People’s Grocery believe that hiring locally will help create a stronger community focus in the way we provide customer service. PCM plans to provide good training to their 50 employees to make sure that they’re very knowledgeable about the products PCM carries. They also plan to feature a greeting kiosk at the entrance of the store where customers will be welcomed, offered assistance and presented with free samples, handouts and demonstrations.
MORE THAN A GROCERY STORE
This is PCM’s slogan. It’s centered on the belief that food stores can do more to support their communities and can offer more value to customers beyond retailing quality fresh foods that food stores can provide:
- Great customer experiences that are unique, fun and memorable
- Interesting social space & opportunities for more social interactions
- Events & entertainment that bring people together for a good time
- Supports, services & education in improving the health of customers
People’s Community Market is being designed to address these social and health needs. The store will feature an outdoor patio with family seating and a stage for events such as live music, poetry or guest speakers. In addition to People’s Grocery, PCM will partner with other local nonprofit and health organizations to provide health related services such as in-store demonstrations, nutrition counseling and free health screenings. The store will also offer a variety of supports and incentives to encourage healthier food choices such as a healthy rewards shopper card and double value on produce when purchased with food stamps.
For more information, please visit www.peoplescommunitymarket.com