After years of trying, one neighborhood in West Oakland is about to get its first full-scale grocery store in decades. Community Foods Market has been in the works for nearly a decade, and it is expected to finally open at 3105 San Pablo Ave. in June.
“I've been watching them, and they've been working on it 24/7,” said Vertis Key, who lives across the street from the new store and was one of many who lined up for a job fair hosted by grocer on Saturday. “They got a lot done, and the construction and the ambiance is just great.”
West Oakland has long been overlooked by supermarket chains. The U.S. Department of Agriculture considers the neighborhood a food desert, with limited access to healthy foods.
CEO Brahm Ahmadi has been organizing around in the area for years as an advocate with People's Grocery, which has tried to provide healthful food options to the community. He says the challenge of opening up shop in a low-income food desert are real — financing, safety, theft — but so is the opportunity.