|Nov 17, 2011 --
Local Grocer Moves To Food Desert Area With Help From USDA Rural Development
Outline of Need:
The City of Winnsboro had two grocery stores located on the north side of the city. There was a need for a grocery store on the south side of the city, which has been designated as a “Food Desert”. The construction of the grocery store will create jobs, generating income for families in the surrounding areas. The project is located in a hurricane impacted area, designated as a persistent poverty area, and has a high unemployment rate.
How Rural Development Helped:
USDA Rural Development provided a Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan for $5 million to refinance debt on existing facilities owned by Ford Holdings, LLC, to construct a new 19,500 square foot grocery store, purchase machinery, equipment, inventory, and other costs associated with the project.
Mr. Ford established his first rural retail grocery store in 1974. Since that time, he operated three retail locations: Jonesville, Colfax and Wisner Louisiana. Ford's Fine Foods Inc. was created in 1992 to operate the Colfax, Louisiana location. His decision to build the new grocery store on the south side of Winnsboro was based on the need of the community. The area chosen to construct the facility is designated as a "Food Desert". Food Desert areas are predominately residential and under-served. The newly constructed grocery store is accessible for outlying rural areas and surrounding small towns and communities, providing needed jobs and adding an additional market.
Mr. Ford and his operating entities maintain a supply relationship and “Cooperative Purchase Rebate Program” with Associated Wholesale Grocers, Inc. (AWG), one of the largest wholesale grocery distributors in the United States. Ford’s Food Centers have been recognized by AWG as one of the leading AWG Brands merchandisers nationally for stores comparable in size. It is with this relationship that Mr. Ford can offer competitive price savings for consumers in Winnsboro and surrounding areas.
"This loan from Rural Development will create 15 quality jobs and retain 86 in parishes that are located in the Delta Region. The new construction also provided indirect jobs for twenty plus contractors, laborers, and other workers during the development phase," said Clarence W. Hawkins, State Director USDA Rural Development.