After years of trying, a neighborhood in West Oakland is about to become the first major grocery store in decades. The Community Foods Market has been operating for nearly a decade and is slated to open on San Pablo Ave. in June. Opened in 3105.
“I watched them and they worked on it around the clock,” said Vertis Key, who lives across from the new store and was one of many lining up for a grocer’s job fair Saturday. “You’ve done a lot and the construction and ambience are just great.”
A job seeker interviewed the CEO of the Community Foods Market, Brahm Ahmadi, on April 13, 2019. (Sara Hossaini / KQED)
West Oakland has long been overlooked by supermarket chains. The U.S. Department of Agriculture views the neighborhood as a food wasteland with limited access to healthy foods.
CEO Brahm Ahmadi has organized himself for years in the region as an advocate for People’s Grocery, which has tried to bring healthy food to the community. He says the challenge of starting a business in a low-income food wasteland is real – funding, security, theft – but so is the opportunity.