Gem City Market says no to Ohio lottery

Rendering of Gem City Market. CONTRIBUTED
Rendering of Gem City Market. CONTRIBUTED

The Gem City Market has decided not to sell Ohio lottery products at its store, citing community opposition.

The full-service grocery store, which is under construction on lower Salem Avenue, said it surveyed community and market members on their views about lottery sales and decided not to sell lottery games based on their feedback.

Survey responses were mixed, but people who opposed lottery sales strongly believed they would interfere with the community-owned grocery store’s mission, said Lela Klein, executive director of Co-op Dayton and a Gem City Market Board member.

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“The people against it were passionately against it, while the people who were for it thought it’s fine if it was beneficial to the market or if people wanted to,” she said. “Most people said they never buy lottery tickets or they very rarely buy lottery tickets.”

“Based on that, there didn’t seem to be a strong demand,” she said.

A June survey of more than 200 people found that a greater share of respondents felt that lottery sales were off mission for the market, compared to the number who expressed interest in stocking the gambling products.

Some people opposed to lottery sales said they are exploitative and already widely available.

The market will not sell lottery tickets when it opens next year, but it is a member-owned operation, and if community members really want them in the future, they can petition to add the products, Klein said.

The Gem City Market already decided it would not sell tobacco products because that would be inconsistent with its health mission to improve access to nutritious food products and other items, Klein said.

The market plans to sell beer and wine only, after market members voted in support of alcohol sales.

In November, residents in the district will vote whether to create an exception in the dry district for the market, permitting alcohol sales.

Lottery sales may have attracted additional foot traffic, but they weren’t likely to be a large revenue generator, Klein said.

The market project is making progress, and construction is expected to be completed in January. The market would open shortly after that.

The market has about 2,700 members, and its goal is to reach 3,000 memberships purchased by the time the grocery store opens.

The Gem City Market on Tuesday unveiled a series of banners that will be hung at the construction site, several of which were created by art students at The Edison School and Dayton Leadership Academy.

The artwork reflects what students envisioned as a trip to the market or what they think a grocery store should look like.

Ten banners in total were installed at the site, which included photography from Glenna Jennings, artwork by Simeon Oyeyemi and architectural drawings of the new store.

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