NEW ORLEANS, LA – Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, in partnership with The Food Trust and the Hope Enterprise Corporation, announced a funding award to Aeren’s Supermarket as part of the New Orleans Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI). The $120,000 loan will allow for the creation of seven new jobs in the Hoffman Triangle Community and the purchase of new equipment. The loan will also allow the grocer to expand its footprint at 3911 Washington Avenue from 10,000 to 18,000 square feet.
“By supporting neighborhood grocery stores and facilitating their expansion, the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative allows us to increase access to fresh food options for our citizens,” said Mayor Landrieu. “This initiative gives citizens the convenience of shopping in their own neighborhood, creates new permanent jobs and has the potential to drive other redevelopment efforts.”
"Providing capital for the Aeren’s Supermarket expansion will add to the momentum near Broad and Washington where earlier public investments are already paying off," said District B Councilmember Cantrell. "I am delighted to see local businesses grow and serve neighborhoods like the Hoffman Triangle." Aeren’s Supermarket has operated in District B since 1984 until closing after Hurricane Katrina.
Launched in March 2011, FFRI awards low-cost, flexible financing for vendors to open, renovate or expand retail outlets in areas of the city lacking fresh food access. The City previously announced FFRI awards to the Circle Food Market in the Seventh Ward and Whole Foods Market in Mid-City.
“HOPE is proud to finance an entrepreneur who will provide healthy, nutritious food in the Hoffman Triangle neighborhood,” said HOPE CEO Bill Bynum. “The Fresh Food Retailer Initiative strengthens families and communities by increasing access to healthy foods and supporting local jobs. It’s a great example of the public and private sectors working together to improve lives in New Orleans.”
The Food Trust executive director Yael Lehmann said, “Through the FFRI program, the owners of Aeren’s Supermarket will now be able to renovate their store and expand their produce section. Projects like these improve the health of New Orleans communities by allowing residents to choose high-quality, affordable and healthy foods.”
“As part of our economic development strategy, we are working to attract and support retailers across the city who invest in the community by improving access to fresh healthy foods, creating jobs and revitalizing neighborhoods,” said Aimee Quirk, advisor to the Mayor for Economic Development, who oversees the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative. “We are pleased to support the growth of Aeren’s Supermarket through this initiative.”
Aeren’s Supermarket owner Faris Canahauti said, “The FFRI program financing will allow me to expand our grocery store and install new equipment in order to increase our produce and other fresh offerings. This expansion will also help keep my customers from traveling outside of the neighborhood to purchase the fresh foods their families need and like.”
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 Enterprise Corporation (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.
For more information about FFRI, go to http://www.nola.gov/economic-development/business-services/programs-initiatives/fresh-food-retailer-initiative/.