The city has awarded a $120,000 loan to Aeren’s Supermarket as part of the New Orleans Fresh Food Retailer Initiative, Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s office said Thursday.
The loan will allow the store, which opened in 1984, to expand its Washington Avenue location from 10,000 to 18,000 square feet and to buy new equipment.
“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,” Landrieu said in a statement. “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.”
The loan is being made in partnership with the Food Trust and the Hope Enterprise Corp.
“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,” City Councilwoman LaToya Cantrell said. “I am delighted to see local businesses grow and serve neighborhoods like the Hoffman Triangle.”
The Fresh Food Retailer Initiative started in March 2011. Stores can get the financing to open or expand in areas of the city with limited access to produce.
The city previously awarded the loans to the Circle Food Market in the 7th Ward and Whole Foods Market in Mid-City.
“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, Aeren’s Supermarket owner Faris Canahauti said. “This expansion will also help keep my customers from traveling outside of the neighborhood to purchase the fresh foods their families need and like.”
Stores that receive these loans must set aside “significant shelf space to fruit and vegetables,” according to a news release.
The source of the initiative is $7 million in Disaster-Community Development Block Grant funds, which are matched by Hope Enterprise Corp. for a total of $14 million. Food Trust, a national nonprofit group, also participates in the program.