Gem City Market opens to customers after years of planning; SNAP EBT now accepted

DAYTON — Gem City Market has officially opened to the public after many months of planning.

“We’ve come a long way,” said Gem City Market Board President Amaha Sellassie. “We’ve been on this journey for a little over six years.”

A group of people were waiting outside the business waiting to get inside for the first time as doors opened for the first time at noon Wednesday.

The 8,000-square-foot market is located at 324 Salem Avenue and targets a need for a grocery store with fresh fruits and vegetables on the city’s western half and northwest portion of Montgomery County.

>> Iron Horse bike path attacker to be sentenced for random, sexually-driven attack

“There’s not a lot of access. There are people having to ride the bus, drive 15 minutes and so that was the concern. Making sure that we had fresh, affordable groceries, but then it grew into something more,” said Leah Bahan-Harris, Gem City Market’s general manager. “If you look at Northwest and West Dayton, there’s not a lot of grocery stores.”

For the last few weeks, employees at the store have been stocking shelves with groceries in preparation for opening day.

Some of the space at Gem City Market will be occupied by a Third Perks coffee shop, a community kitchen where cooking classes will take place, a Five Rivers Health Clinic, and a community room designed to host a variety of events and meetings aimed at bringing people together.

The grocery store is member-owned and about 3,200 members have already signed up to be a part of the new venture.

“There’s different kinds of memberships that meet the needs of everyone. We have a $10 membership for people that self-identify as limited income. We have what’s called a 50/50 match through Premier Health- where they’ll pay $50 of your membership and you can pay the other $50 if you are in our trade area zip code. Then we have a $100 membership that you can make payments on,” the grocery store said in a statement.

On Thursday morning, May 13, 2021, Gem City Market announced that it is able to accept SNAP EBT at checkout after an unforeseen issues with processing transaction prevented the market from accepting SNAP EBT on opening day Wednesday.

“We cannot thank you enough for our community’s patience. We know how important having this service is and extend our deepest apologies to all of those inconvenienced by the situation,” said Leah Bahan-Harris, General Manager of Gem City Market.