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Without a grocery store, Saskatoon's inner city looks to build one


A new co-operative grocery store in Saskatoon's inner city aims to fill a void for an area that's existed without a supermarket for more than a decade.

The Good Food Junction Co-operative Grocery Store is getting support from local church leaders in its attempts to raise $650,000 for inventory and equipment for the store. The funds are especially important since the Saskatchewan Party government halted $8 million the previous NDP government had pledged to get the store off the ground as well as build an adjoining community centre known as Station 20 West.

While several large grocery chains were approached a few years ago to open or reopen stores in Saskatoon's impoverished inner city, the chains didn't feel doing so fit their business model, says Janice Sanford Beck, president of the board for Good Food Junction Co-op.

The trend in Saskatoon, as in other North American cities, has been to open larger, suburban stores. "A small store in a low-income community isn't where they're focusing their attentions," she said.

Organizers have been given a three-year extension by the city to raise the remaining funds needed to build on the land where the store and community centre would be located. The group needs to raise an additional $1.5 million. If those funds are raised quickly, construction could start in spring 2011.

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