While Fresh Grocer will be beneficial, the community needed it long ago.
In a matter of days, Main Campus students and the surrounding community will have something they’ve awaited for years – a grocery store.
The Fresh Grocer, scheduled to open its doors in Progress Plaza at Broad and Oxford streets Dec. 11, will be the first grocery store to open within a mile radius of the community immediately surrounding Temple since the Super Fresh in Progress Plaza closed in 1998.
Though there is a Cousins Supermarket located about a mile east of Main Campus at Fifth and Berks streets, the store has received mixed reviews by community members and Temple students on rating Web sites such as yelp.com. Customers complain of beat-up produce at the supermarket, and one Temple student described the walk from the Kardon-Atlantic Terminal apartments at 1801 N. 10th St., as unnerving.
The next closest grocery store to Temple is a Pathmark, located at 2900 N. Broad St., about two miles north of Main Campus – too far for students and community members to walk, then forcing those who don’t have access to cars to use public transportation.
While the opening of the Fresh Grocer will undoubtedly be an improvement to the quality of life for both students and community members, the hype surrounding the market’s several-times-delayed grand opening begs the question, “Why now?”
Community members in the lower part of the North Central neighborhood, as well as those living in Yorktown and sections south of Main Campus toward Fairmount Avenue, have been without a real grocery store for years.
As thousands of resident students – many of whom purchase Temple Dining Services packages – pour onto Main Campus and into its surrounding neighborhood each semester, it could be construed as anything but a coincidence that now is the time a mainstream grocery store is built in the community.
Regardless of intention, by finally building and opening the Fresh Grocer at a time when Temple’s resident student rate is booming, rather than getting a grocery store in the vicinity years ago when Temple was more a commuter school, Progress Plaza developers are sending a startling message to the community – nobody felt the need to build a supermarket there until the influx of students.
For the sake of the community, Temple students eager to use the Fresh Grocer should also be eager to shop with community members and not make them feel pushed out or as if they don’t belong in yet another amenity put there for their benefit.