Two new grocery stores coming to NE Oklahoma City food desert

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Two new grocery stores are coming to the northeast side of OKC, an area known as a “food desert.” 

“In 2016, we began coming to the community and asking ‘hey, if there was a god, what would he be doing in this community?’” Ernest Odunze with Restore OKC said. 

One of the answers was more grocery options and job opportunities in NE OKC. 

“So, behind us is a part of restore jobs,” Odunze said. 

He’s talking about a building near NE 23rd and MLK that will soon be home to a new Homeland grocery store. 

It’s part of the “Cultivate Community” campaign spearheaded by Restore OKC, fueled by a $300,000 investment from Life.Church and a partnership with Homeland.  

“It’s sort of a first public/private partnership with a 501c3. So with that, we’re going to get to see a grocery store but also get to see it bring affordable food access to the community,” Caylee Dodson, Executive Director of Restore OKC, told News 4. 

That food access is greatly needed for the area, which is known as OKC’s “food desert” after the zip code’s only grocery store, Smart Saver, closed last year

“We had the privilege of having a building and we converted it into a neighborhood market, but we saw through that that there was a cry in our community for food justice,” Odunze said. 

The future Homeland on NE 23rd, which will be known as the East Point Homeland, will be owned and operated by Restore OKC. It’s one of two Homeland stores coming to the area, with groundbreaking on another location at NE 36th and Lincoln happening on Thursday. 

“Really appreciate to have a grocery store over in this vicinity to keep from going so far out,” Versie Jones, a resident and community advisory board member, said. 

The groundbreaking at the NE 36th and Lincoln location is set for noon Thursday. 

A ribbon cutting event at the NE 23rd location, 1708 NE 23rd Street, will take place on Saturday, October 3rd, from 4-7 p.m. with a public art/mural painting.

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