A full-service neighborhood fresh food store and community space that supports West Oakland families to become healthier and socially connected.
People’s Community Market (PCM) is a new business emerging from and building on twelve years of food enterprise experience and community organizing of its sister nonprofit organization, People’s Grocery, which has operated food enterprises in West Oakland including the Mobile Market and the Grub Box. PCM will be a full-service neighborhood food store, health resource center and community hub that engages and supports West Oakland families to attain healthier and more socially connected lives.
We will use the insight and understanding we’ve gained through many years of engagement in the West Oakland community to create a highly tailored business model that makes it easy to buy nutritious and fresh foods, prepared foods and traditional groceries at great value in the neighborhood, while also offering education, engagement and incentive programs that introduce customers to healthier food options and encourage them to adopt healthier eating habits over time.
We are offering a concrete, local and sustainable way to address the social and economic problems in West Oakland. This is not a donation. This is not a Wall Street investment. This is a real local investment in which residents of California, of all economic backgrounds.
The Problem: An Underserved Community
West Oakland is an inner-city community of 25,000 residents who are predominantly African American and Latino. Although West Oakland residents collectively spend over $58 million a year on groceries, there are no full-service grocery stores in the neighborhood. As a result, 70% of residents’ grocery spending goes to stores in surrounding cities. But residents (many of whom don’t own a vehicle and rely on public transportation) must travel far to get to distant supermarkets, often spending 30% of their food budget on transportation costs. The inconvenience, time and cost of these shopping trips leads many residents to regularly shop at nearby corner stores that carry mostly processed, poor quality foods sold at high prices.
These limited food choices are contributing to high rates of diet-related chronic disease in West Oakland. Today, forty eight percent of residents are obese or at an unhealthy weight and the community’s diabetes hospitalization rate is three times that of Alameda County. But many residents also understand the connection between diet and health and are increasingly demanding healthier food choices, more information and education, and more supportive social settings.
West Oakland residents also desire more social and cultural experiences in their neighborhood that connect them to their communities and provide interesting and enriching occasions. Presently, there are few venues where residents can go to enjoy an event such live music or socialize with other residents in a public setting. The strip San Pablo Avenue that runs through West Oakland from the border of Emeryville to downtown Oakland lacks a single coffee shop or “sit-down” restaurant along its entire length. In addition to having to leave West Oakland to shop for groceries, residents must also leave the neighborhood to get to any kind of public venue.