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Gem City Market food co-op gets a home in northwest Dayton

The Gem City Market will be built on the 300 and 400 block of Salem Ave., bringing a full-service grocery store to one of the largest food deserts in the state.

Market supporters this morning announced the location of the market, which will become Dayton’s first worker and community-owned co-operative grocery store.

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The market will be constructed on a vacant lot on the 400 block of Salem, but also the project will involve reusing the abandoned Ken McCallister Inc. art supply property at 300 Salem Ave.

Supporters this morning also announced the kick-off of the capital campaign to raise money to build the grocery store.

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The goal is to raise $4.2 million, but more than a third of that investment has already been committed.

The market has a goal of selling 2,000 shares (or memberships) before it opens its doors. Supporters are approaching the half-way mark, with more than 920 memberships sold.

The hope is to open the market in 2019.

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The market, which will employ local residents, will offer fresh produce, meat, goods and other high-quality staple foods.

The market will be a unique draw because it will sell specialty, local and organic products, market supporters said.

Unlike most grocery stores, the Gem City Market will be owned by its workers, customers and community supporters, the market said in a statement.

The market has always been targeted for the lower part of the Salem Avenue corridor. One of the areas previously considered was the 100 block of Salem Avenue.

Market members get special prices and deals on some products, similar to rewards members at grocery stores.

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Members also can vote or run for a seat on the market’s board of directors, get to participate in annual meetings to make decisions about the store and will share in the percentage of profit not reinvested in the store, the market said.

Memberships cost $100. But some people will qualify for a subsidized membership. There are payment plans to help spread out the membership fee.

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