News & Events

 

Salvation Army is Doing More Good for Baltimore City

Here at BDC, we take our role in the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative seriously, by providing financial, business and technical assistance to grocery stores, including new and emerging models like this one – DMG (Doing More Good) Foods – the Salvation Army’s non-profit grocery store now under construction. It will be the first non-profit grocery store in the city, and one of only a few in the country, focused on providing healthy and staple food access for low income residents, nutrition and food prep education, and be a workforce development tool by training workers for grocery retail with specialized training and certifications. We spoke to our own, Kristin Dawson, about this significant project and its anticipated impact on Baltimore City.

Q: Why did the Salvation Army choose Baltimore as the place for this innovative project?

KD: Salvation Army has long given away food through their mobile canteen and pantry efforts. Because of the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative’s well researched and well documented food desert issue, they were aware of the challenges for certain residents in the city to access healthy food. Salvation Army wanted to create a real grocery store, where residents are empowered to make their own choices and use their own funds, but increase their purchasing power beyond what they can typically afford at a traditional grocery store. So, they came up with this idea for a non-profit grocery store. There were a few that had popped up in other parts of the country (Boston, Philadelphia) they had heard about. They already owned the site at 400 E 29th St as a warehouse and decided to convert a portion of the site to the grocery store.

Q: How will Baltimore City residents benefit from this project?

KD: It will be a full service, small footprint, real grocery store. Not food pantry. Residents will have access to healthy and staple foods at prices that are far below what they can get at a traditional store. They are also going to offer workforce training, and nutrition education.

Q: In what way was BFPI involved in this project?

KD: BDC has been involved from the very start and to a lesser extent other partners in BFPI have been. We helped shape the project to have the workforce development aspect, in part so the store would be less of a threat and more of a partner for existing for-profit grocery stores because we want them to succeed as well. I even took them to Delaware to see a similar workforce model between Goodwill and ShopRite as an example. BDC connected them with wholesalers, grocery operators, potential staff as well as provide a façade improvement grant.  We also connected them with folks at the state to get SNAP and WIC authorization.  We introduced them to various community associations and appropriate elected officials as well as facilitating approval from the Zoning administration (Is this administration or zoning board?). We tried to help them in every possible way. We try to be their gateway to city government, state government and grocery industry in general.

Located on E. 29th Street at the intersection of Abell, Harwood and Better Waverly neighborhoods, DMG will open beginning of 2018. For updates, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

140 acres of key commercial area along Pennsylvania and W. North Avenue designated as a Focus Area

The BDC’s application for an Enterprise Zone Focus Area designation for key commercial portions of Pennsylvania and W. North Avenue (Central West Baltimore Focus Area) received approval from MD Dept. of Commerce. Enterprise Zones (EZ) program encourages investment in distressed neighborhoods by providing tax credits to spur private investment. A fact sheet about Enterprise Zone and EZ Focus Area benefits can be downloaded here.  To download the map of the Central West Baltimore Focus Area, please click here.

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Sharp Dressed Man opens new, temporary location following fire

Nadia Singh, WMAR-TV (ABC 2 News) – April 13, 2016

Sharp Dressed Man is a non-profit that’s been working to recover after an electrical fire and other building issues forced it to close.

Now, thanks to the generosity of the community, it continues to bridge the gap for men looking to re-enter the workforce.

“You can have all the skills in the world, you can be ready to work, you can be a hard working, but if you are not prepared physically, if you don’t look professional, you’re not going to be taken seriously,” Jenny Kessler-Klump, Executive Director of Sharp Dressed Man told ABC 2. “We opened a small boutique over on 235 Park Avenue in December and we really hit our stride.”

That stride was disrupted when an electrical fire and other issues rendered the building condemned.

“Effectively we were shut down. We were homeless,” Kessler-Klump said.

Wednesday, thanks to the Baltimore Development Corporation, Sharp Dressed Man was able to call a new 20,000 square foot facility home – at least for now.

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Baltimore to give big tax break to attract more grocery stores

Yvonne Wenger, Baltimore Sun – Dec. 10, 2015

BDC chief: “A quality grocery store can transform a neighborhood faster than anything.” The Baltimore Development Corporation is an integral part of the Baltimore Food Policy Initiative, a cross-agency strategy and collaboration…

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