Construction on West Oakland’s long-anticipated People’s Community Market is finally underway, following years of starts and stops.
After years of planning and fundraising, West Oakland’s People’s Community Market has finally broken ground on its 14,000-square- foot space at 3103 Myrtle St. Now, however, it’s known as Community Foods Market, a name that founder Brahm Ahmadi says better aligns the grocery with its mission.
Years in the works, a full-service grocery store is finally being built in West Oakland. Community Foods Market, formerly called the People’s Community Market, broke ground last Friday and is slated to open in October.
More than five years in the making, the project has raised nearly $1.7 million among 550 investors to bring a full-service grocery store to West Oakland, one of the East Bay’s largest food deserts.
OAKLAND — A community-centered grocery store and cafe will break ground this month in West Oakland, where the store’s founders say is lacking options for fresh, healthy, affordable groceries.
How about a new synonym for the word “persistence”: Brahm Ahmadi?
Ahmadi recently closed on a 16,000-square-foot property to be the site of a full-service grocery store in the economically challenged area of West Oakland, CA CA +0.40%. But thanks to everything from trouble finding investors to skyrocketing real estate prices, the effort to build such an enterprise took him close to 14 years to achieve.
It’s been a long journey for People’s Community Market and its founder Brahm Ahmadi. Over the span of almost a decade, the community organizer has been working toward opening a fresh food market in West Oakland, in a neighborhood almost completely bereft of healthy food options for its residents. Now, with the recent purchase of its future space, the market is closer to becoming fully realized.
For over a decade, Brahm Ahmadi of the People’s Community Market has been attempting to create an oasis in West Oakland’s food desert, which according to Ahmadi has not had a full service grocery store since 2006.
Back in the fall of 2012, food activist Brahm Ahmadi stood in front of a packed room in East Oakland’s warehouse district and made a simple pitch: Would the assorted local business owners and community organizer types who had gathered consider investing in People’s Community Market, the ambitious full-service grocery store that Ahmadi wanted to open in West Oakland? Would they do their part to bring healthy food to one of the city’s most notorious food deserts, where the primary shopping option is the corner liquor store?
West Oakland is one step closer to getting its first full-service grocery store in a decade.
As KQED reported last year, Brahm Ahmadi has been trying to buy land since 2014 in West Oakland — a food desert that has also become a more expensive place to live than it used to be. Ahmadi’s efforts to build People’s Community Market were stalled as land prices shot up. Now an anonymous investor and a well-known nonprofit developer have stepped up to help Ahmadi complete a deal that will allow him to build a market near the San Pablo corridor.