Mayor Landrieu, Robért Fresh Market announce return of retailer to Bywater/Marigny
NEW ORLEANS – Wednesday, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, City officials, representatives from Robért Fresh Market and Hope Enterprise Corporation (HOPE) announced that renovation and construction work will begin on a new, full-service grocery store and retail parcel serving in the Bywater and Marigny neighborhoods. The grocery store will employ 30 full-time and 50 part-time employees and create over 150 construction jobs.
The project received partial funding from the City’s Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI), a program that increases access to fresh foods in traditionally underserved neighborhoods in the City, in addition to providing quality employment opportunities and serving as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization. The program provides direct financial assistance to retail businesses by awarding forgivable and/or low-interest loans to supermarkets, grocery stores and other fresh food retailers. Circle Foods in the Seventh Ward, the ReFresh project featuring Whole Foods Market in Mid-City and Dryades Public Market in Central City were all partially funded by FFRI.
“We are thrilled to announce the beginning of construction of the new Robért Fresh Market. This is a clear sign of rebirth and progress for the Bywater and Faubourg Marigny neighborhoods,” said Mayor Mitch Landrieu. “The City’s Fresh Food Retailer Initiative allows us to increase access to fresh food options for our citizens in neighborhoods that need it most. Projects like this create jobs, generate taxes, bring vacant properties back into commerce and reinvigorate neighborhoods. We look forward to more fresh food store openings in neighborhoods throughout the city.”
“We are proud and excited for this project to come to life,” said Marc Robért II, CEO of Robért Fresh Market. “We’ve created a concept that upholds the integrity and authenticity of the area while bringing the neighborhood a fresh, full-service grocery they need.”
Construction is expected to last approximately 12 months.
Rebecca Conwell, Senior Advisor to the Mayor for Economic Development, who oversees the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative said, “I’m thrilled that Robért Fresh Market has leveraged the opportunity provided by the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative to enable their homecoming at the corner of St. Claude and Elysian Fields. In addition to increasing fresh food access and creating jobs, this historic renovation will inspire more investment and retail for families in this neighborhood.”
District C Councilmember Nadine Ramsey said, “Robért Fresh Market is a much-needed service to this community as neighborhood-oriented, full-service market. It will increase access to healthy, fresh, local foods. We thank Robért for choosing this location and for being a valuable community partner.”
Yael Lehmann, Executive Director of The Food Trust said, “When a community loses its grocery store, residents struggle to find affordable, nutritious food. The long-awaited reopening of Robért Fresh Market is a testament to the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative and similar programs across the country that expand healthy food access and revitalize communities.”
Kathy Saloy, Vice President, Community and Economic Development, Hope Enterprise Corporation said, “HOPE is proud to manage the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative and our investment in Robért Fresh Market serves as another example of how we create opportunity by working together towards a common goal. This project is another step toward reducing disparities in healthy food access that has existed since Katrina. Not only will the re-opened grocery store increase access to healthy food, it will also be an important source of local jobs.”
About Robért Fresh Market
Robért Fresh Market, founded in 1994, operates its family-oriented business from a customer responsive viewpoint, offering the best possible service and satisfaction for both associates and customers. For more information, visit www.robertfreshmarket.com.
About the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative
In March 2011, Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced the launch of the New Orleans Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI) in an effort to expand access to healthy food at affordable prices, provide quality employment opportunities for New Orleans citizens and serve as a catalyst for neighborhood revitalization. New or existing stores funded through the FFRI program must demonstrate a commitment to the sale of fresh produce by dedicating significant shelf space to fruits and vegetables.
To fund FFRI, the City provided $7,000,000 in Disaster-Community Development Block Grant (D-CDBG) funds, which are matched 1:1 by the City’s partner, HOPE, for a total of $14,000,000. In addition, the City has partnered with The Food Trust, a national non-profit organization with a track record for administering innovative approaches to expanding access to fresh foods across the country.
Applicants must plan to either open a self-service supermarket or other grocery retail outlet primarily selling fresh produce, seafood, meat, dairy and other groceries; renovate and substantially improve a store’s ability to stock and sell a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables; or develop a real estate project that will lease space to a grocery retail tenant.