DENVER -- In the Sun Valley neighborhood, there’s plenty of new construction for housing but one thing has always been missing, a grocery store.
"The nearest grocery store is about two and a half miles from here. So, we are in a food desert," said Annie Hancock, interim director of community connections for the Denver Housing Authority.
For that reason, Hancock wanted to make sure their new Gateway Project, with both affordable and market-rate apartments, would have a grocery store right in the neighborhood.
"People can come down here that live upstairs, that live down the street, that work in the neighborhood, and now they have access to fresh produce that's being grown in the neighborhood," said Hancock.
The 1,800-square-foot Decatur Fresh Marketplace, located 995 North Decatur Street, is a DHA project that will not only sell fresh produce and essential items to Sun Valley residents, but also provide full-time job opportunities and internships.
"We've already received a number of job applications from the residents who live here to be able to work here and be able to help support the space and run the space," said Hancock.
For Annie Colunga who just moved in last month, having a market nearby will make a drastic difference.
"If we run out of lets say, tomatoes, we can come here and get them. You know, we don’t have to go to King Soopers or 7/11 or wherever you go," said Colunga.
At it’s core, Decatur Fresh’s focus is on the community. Some items in the store will be pay-what-you-can, children 18 and under can get free snacks on the weekends, and there’s even an area to highlight products made in the neighborhood.
"Really a place that celebrates the culture of Sun Valley," said Colunga.
The store is expected to open at the end of the month or early October.