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Indy Fresh Market could bring $11M boost to neighborhood’s economy

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The neighborhood around 38th Street and Sheridan Avenue expects to see a multimillion-dollar economic boost thanks to a grocery store under construction.

It’s part of a broader plan to revitalize the area on the border of the city’s east and northeast sides.

The owners of Indy Fresh Market say the closest grocery store is about 3 miles away, and shoppers cannot access it on the bus line. So, they say they are looking forward to the grocery’s doors opening because it will ease the burden of living in a food desert but also bring in a much-needed economic boost.

It’s one thing to have a vision. It’s another to watch it come to life.

“I’m excited about the changes it’s going to bring to the community. I’m excited to see my dreams come to fruition,” said Michael McFarland, co-owner of Indy Fresh Market.

The new Indy Fresh Market is only a frame but will eventually be much more. “Sometimes older communities get looked over when progress is coming,” McFarland said.

Marckus Williams is the other co-owner. Both men grew up in the community and have watched it change with years of disinvestment.

“It was a desert over here. So, people didn’t have anywhere to eat. Buying food at gas stations. It’s just a big break for the community, and I’m glad I can be a part of that,” Williams said.

The market will be an extension of a community revitalization plan put in place by Cook Medical in partnership with Goodwill Commercial Services. With the walls going up, analysts evaluated the economic benefits of just this site alone. Tom Guevara with the IU Public Policy Institute told News 8, “Estimate how money flows through an economy whenever something new is created.”

The IU Public Policy Institute estimates a starting economic impact of $11 million, with an additional $4.6 million brought in through wages, benefits and neighborhood spending every year after.

“It happens now every time you spend a dollar in the community. That’s money that goes into someone else’s or another businesses pocket,” Guevara said.

The venture is a first for McFarland and Williams, but it’s a job both take on with pride. Co-owner Williams said, “I just want to be ‘Mr. Feed Indy.’ Put grocery stores in all the food deserts around Indianapolis urban areas.”