North Side Grocery

Introduction: This project develops a bargain grocery store to be located in the North Side of Binghamton.  This store would supply Binghamton’s largest food desert with produce and food staples at rates that are below retail prices.


  • Geography of the North Side. Population of area is 12,400 people located north of the city center. Approximately the Roosevelt School Catchment Area. Broomley Ave. to the north, Eldrege Street to the south, Chenango Street to the west and Highway 363 and 7 to the east (Brandywine Corridor).
  • Food Desert. Closest grocery store is at Robinson and Broad Ave. and is a full retail grocer. It is located outside the catchment area.
  • Lackluster Prospects. Three retail grocery store chains have explored the possibility of placing stores on the North Side, but have found it does not meet the economic and population threshold to open stores utilizing a typical store model.
  • Costly Healthy Food. Largest retailer in catchment area is Dollar General. There are also several gas stations and bodega style grocery stores. Dollar General does not have a full grocer with produce.  Bodegas are hit or miss with produce but have prices that are generally above retail. The results are that families rely on convenience food that is higher in sodium and sugar; children are much likelier to be obese, and chronic health issues are rampant.
  • Poverty. Median household income in catchment area is $22, 266, and 46% of the population lives at or below the poverty index. Feeding America has indicated that families in poverty only adequately budget for 14 days of food. These same families have access to one week of emergency food through their network per month, placing them behind in food supply by 7 days.  This leads to missed meals and chronic hunger throughout the month.
  • High Transition Area. The average resident stays less than 3 years in this catchment area.  This makes traditional models of neighborhood grocery stores problematic as they require customer loyalty.
  • Food Resource Scarcity. Most food producers and retailers in our area have been utilized for food rescue and pantry-stable products for the emergency food network. Broome County is a resource-poor area with few large scale food producers. 


  • Bargain Grocer – profit and non-profit hybrid. A social purpose grocery store offers a way to not only expand the budgets of those in poverty, but also put government money available through EBT, SNAP, and WIC to broader use.  This model potentially expands the amount of food available through the emergency food network by rolling profits into emergency food programs and expands the amount of food that each budgeted dollar is able to purchase by charging below retail.
  • Food Sourcing Through the Bargain Grocer in Utica, New York we have access to additional food resources currently unavailable in our area. Annual profits of Bargain Grocer are $1,000,000 for a similar population and area as the North Side. These profits are rolled back into providing missional activities through the charitable arm of the organization.
  • Business Partnership. Utilizing partnership with Bargain Grocer in Utica, NY will also help with management, structure, and operations for employment training, business model, and governance structure for a for-profit entity whose controlling interest is a non-profit corporation.
  • Start small. We are proposing a 5,000 square foot store that sells mostly produce, meat and dairy with a few shelf stable products.  This minimizes the risk involved and significantly reduces overhead expenses.
  • Emphasize Job Training. CHOW has developed a job training program that we will utilize.  We will teach both hard and soft job skills emphasizing customer service, food handling, food warehousing, distribution, and employee certifications at the same time as personal responsibility, finances, cleanliness, and resume development.
  • Partnerships: Community Foundation of South Central New York, Steward W and Willma C Hoyt Foundation and other community partners…City of Binghamton and State Senator Akshar.
  • Location: 5,280 space on the ground floor of Canal Plaza located at 435 State Street managed by Community Potential on behalf of the Binghamton Housing Authority.
  • Contact: Joseph Sellepack Executive Director Broome County Council of Churches: 607-724-9130 ext. 310  3 Otseningo St. Binghamton, NY 13903

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