Greensboro, NC -- Fifteen years is a long time to wait for anything. But, that's exactly what people on Greensboro's Northeast side have been doing. They have been waiting for someone to open a grocery store in their neighborhood.
A Winn-Dixie moved out of the Bessemer Shopping Center 15 years ago. The storefront has sat empty ever since. Now, the city of Greensboro has three proposals that could fill that void.
Most of us don't think twice about running out to the grocery store to pick up a few things or grab some fresh fruits and vegetables. However, when your transportation options are limited, and you're trying to watch your budget, having a grocery store nearby is priceless.
The community wants a place to buy groceries. So, why hasn't a grocery store already opened up there?
"They really need to make sure they can make their money back before opening up in a neighborhood. So, a lot of times, rather than looking for direct competitors that might be close by, they will instead look to see if there are certain tax levels residents in the area meet," Community Food Expert Marianne LeGreco said.
The Family Dollar recently moved into the Bessemer Shopping Center. It offers some basic grocery items, bread and frozen foods. However, it does not stock fresh produce.
"It doesn't take a lot to make a connection between a lack of a grocery store or a lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables. It doesn't take a lot to make a connection to some of the chronic health problems in those neighborhoods," LeGreco said.
WFMY News 2's Mark Geary took a taxi from the neighborhood near the Bessemer Center to the nearest grocery store: Food Lion. According to Google Maps, the Food Lion was just about two and half miles away. The roundtrip total cost for the taxi ride: about $20.00. Twenty dollars that could have been spent on groceries.
Of course, there are city buses in the area. But, you cannot carry more than four grocery bags on a city bus. You can't take up needed seats with your groceries, either. Drivers also cannot help you carry your groceries. These are all standard rules for city buses.
Greensboro's City Council will meet next month to discuss the proposals in front of them. Some of the proposals call for grants, loans and other incentives the council would need to approve.
Map below pinpoints the grocery stores within a 3 mile radius of Phillips Ave.
View North Greensboro Grocery Stores in a larger map