NEW ORLEANS, LA-- Today, Mayor Mitch Landrieu, in partnership with The Food Trust and Hope Enterprise Corporation (HOPE), announced a funding award to Jack and Jake’s, Inc. as part of the New Orleans Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI). The $1 million loan, up to half of which may be forgiven, will allow the grocer to open and operate a 23,000 square foot grocery store in the former Myrtle Banks Elementary School on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard, creating 33 new full-time jobs and 35 part-time jobs in the Central City community. The proceeds of the loan will be used to complete leasehold improvements, purchase furniture, fixtures and equipment and provide working capital.
“New Orleans is a city of neighborhoods, driven strongly by those that live and work in those communities. The Fresh Food Retailer Initiative allows us to increase access to fresh food options for our citizens in neighborhoods that need it most,” said Mayor Landrieu. “Jack and Jake's is giving citizens the convenience of shopping in their own neighborhood and creating new permanent jobs.”
"This is a great day in Central City,” said Councilmember LaToya Cantrell. "Jack and Jake’s will not only bring fresh produce to our residents who often don't have access to fresh food, but it will also bring much-needed jobs. This award shows the great potential of strategic public/private partnerships."
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 Store in the Seventh Ward and the ReFresh project featuring Whole Foods Market in Mid-City.
“Over the past decade HOPE has been a proud resident of O.C. Haley Boulevard,” said Bill Bynum, Chief Executive Officer of Hope Credit Union. “During this period we have enjoyed the privilege of providing financial services to thousands of families, homeowners and businesses across New Orleans. Our recent investment in Jack and Jake’s will bring much needed fresh produce, groceries and jobs to Central City and continue its resurgence.”
Yael Lehmann, The Food Trust’s Executive Director said, "Everyone deserves to be able to purchase healthy, affordable food in their community. This new store will support Louisiana farmers, and create jobs and improve health for Central City residents."
“Through redeveloping the former Myrtle Banks School and partnering with Jack and Jake’s, Alembic Community Development is looking forward to bringing a fresh food market to Central City,” said Jonathan Leit, Director of Alembic’s New Orleans office. “We are excited to be restoring this iconic one hundred-year-old school building and bringing it back as a commercial anchor and community destination that supports the ongoing revitalization of O.C. Haley Boulevard.”
"Jack & Jake's is excited to partner with the City of New Orleans in our effort to provide access to fresh, healthy foods from local producers on Oretha Castle Haley Boulevard. The Fresh Food Retailer Initiative program will help us realize the opening of a full-service retail market and regional food hub,” said John Burns, CEO of Jack and Jake’s. “This effort is part of our overall mission to bring fresh healthy foods to schools, hospitals, and neighborhoods and represents a vital part of the rebirth of a local food system and an ever growing food based economy in the Crescent City."
“We are committed to promoting and providing access to quality food and retail in every neighborhood in our city. FFRI supports the physical health of our citizens and the economic viability of our neighborhoods,” said Aimee Quirk, advisor to the Mayor for Economic Development, who oversees the Fresh Food Retailer Initiative. “We are pleased to support Jack and Jake’s as they bring fresh food, new jobs and investment into Central City.”
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.
For more information about FFRI, go to http://www.nola.gov/economic-development/business-services/programs-initiatives/fresh-food-retailer-initiative/.