The Greater Dayton Union Cooperative Initiative was awarded $150,000 for its work to fund the first cooperative enterprise, Gem City Market, a community-centered full-service grocery store.
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Wells Fargo joined to celebrate the CommunityWINS (Working/Investing in Neighborhood Stabilization) Program award winners.
A panel of judges determined the six winning cities from a pool of 185 applications in three population groups.
"I'm so pleased that the team behind Gem City Market is being recognized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and Wells Fargo," Whaley said in a prepared statement.
“Gem City Market’s mission goes beyond ensuring access to fresh, health foods and looks to tackle the deeper challenge of long-term private disinvestment in Dayton’s neighborhoods. The market’s model of community and worker ownership will build the business anchors that we need, and will keep them in Dayton for the long haul,” she said.
The market will be located where more than 40 percent of residents have low incomes and live more than a mile from a grocery store.
It will provide access to affordable, high-quality food, and will also feature a learning kitchen with classes on early childhood nutrition, management of chronic disease and diet-related illness, and general wellness.
Lela Klein, executive director, Greater Dayton Union Co-Op Initiative, said, “Cities across the country are seeking to address the lack of access to fresh food in urban neighborhoods, but rarely through a model of collective ownership.
“At the Gem City Market, customers and the store’s workers will own the business, both controlling an essential community resource and sharing the profits that it generates. We at GDUCI believe that those who have the most at stake should be at the decision-making table. That way we can build stronger, healthier, and more equitable communities,” Klein said.