Kettering Health Network President Roy Chew discusses his organization’s discounted Gem City Market memberships for employees. Former Congressman and Ambassador Tony Hall and Mama Nozipo Glenn also spoke during Friday’s announcement. CORNELIUS FROLIK / STAFF

Huge Dayton employer helps workers buy Gem City Market shares

One of the area’s largest employers is offering its more than 12,000employees discounts to buy shares in a cooperative grocery store planned for northwest Dayton.

Kettering Health Network today revealed it has a sponsorship program that allows all of its workers system-wide to buy lifetime memberships to the Gem City Market for $50, half the normal price.

The Gem City Market will be a full-service and community-owned grocery store in the 300 and 400 block of Salem Avenue, which is located in one of the state’s worst food deserts.

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The site of the proposed market is a little more than half a mile from Grandview Medical Center, which employees 1,635 people and is one of Kettering Health’s eight hospitals.

“Through Kettering Health Network’s employee membership matching program, we are creating an opportunity to support individuals that want to get involved with the community, as well as provide support to Gem City Market,” said Roy Chew, president of Kettering Health Network, in a statement.

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Kettering Health set a goal of having 1,000 employees buy discounted shares. About 550 have already taken advantage of the offer.

The health care system quietly launched its promotion in June.

Gem City Market says it needs to sell 2,000 memberships before the grocery store opens.

Kettering Health is helping the market reach the finish line. As of today, the market had sold about 1,630 shares and topped the $2 million mark in its capital campaign.

Kettering Health also helped the market with its $4.2 million capital campaign goal by donating $100,000 in December.

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During a presentation today, Kettering Health gave the market a check for $27,500, which was payment for its subsidy of its workers’ memberships.

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