Sarah Dixon Innovation Center
A Project of P.O.O.R.L.A.W. and GH-CARED
At one time part of the main commercial strip of Hazelwood, most of the 4800 block of Second Avenue is currently vacant and owned by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). In 2019, the URA invited proposals to redevelop the block. Proposals to build housing with little to no commercial space failed to address the needs of our community, and prompted the creation of the GH-CARED coalition.
Greater Hazelwood has not had a full-service grocery in decades, our residents travel to Greenfield, Homestead, or the South Side to shop. The 2019 comprehensive community plan, adopted in partnership with Pittsburgh, found that residents “overwhelmingly desire a neighborhood grocery store.”
The GH-CARED coalition of community organizations, businesses, churches, and residents, POORLAW in cooperation with Praise Temple Deliverance Church, is seeking to develop a two-story building on the 4800 block of Second Avenue, and the building’s first floor would be a 20,000-square-foot grocery store.
Plans for the second floor will be informed by further community input. Possibilities include a credit union, job training center, and a daycare, to be run as community- or employee-owned cooperatives.
The Space: 4800 Block of Second Avenue in Hazelwood
- South side of the Second Ave. 4800 block – between Hazelwood Ave and Flowers Ave.
- Two-story commercial building with underground parking lot
- 40,000 sq. ft. of commercial space
- Ground floor: Full-service grocery store on the ground floor
- Upper floor: Small businesses that meet the immediate needs of Greater Hazelwood
Design and Construction Partners
The property and businesses housed at the Sarah Dixon Innovation Center will operate as employee-owned organizations – owned by the Greater Hazelwood community, the employees of the businesses, and their customers.
Why a cooperative model?
- Better pay for workers – from 15%–70% higher than typical organizations
- More control over working conditions
- Greatly reduced worker turnover (40%–60% reductions, typically)
- Dollars spent directly benefit the community
- Community resilience and pride in ownership
The Grocery Store
Family Tree Food Market – A Community-Driven Approach to Food and Wellness
Family Tree Food Market is more than just a grocery store. Its mission is to reimagine how the food industry meets the needs of communities like Greater Hazelwood. In order to support healthy neighborhoods and families, Family Tree looks to reduce nutrition-related chronic diseases by offering affordable, high-quality food as well as health and wellness programs and services – all close to home.
As part of its commitment to the Sarah Dixon Innovation Center, Family Tree will:
- Work with the community employee-owned community cooperative to stablish the grocery store operating model
- Jointly manage operations for the first two-to-three years as part of a franchise agreement
- Provide guidance, training, and operational management expertise
- Prepare employees and managers to successfully take the reins and operate the store going forward
In order to establish the market viability of a grocery store in the Hazelwood Business District, Oak Moss Consulting & Associates conducted a market viability study. The study contains forward-looking information, including demographics, new residential projects, and trends in the market for groceries and household goods.
The results are clear – a coop grocery store in Greater Hazelwood is a good investment:
- Population growth, including new housing development projects on Second Ave. and the Hazelwood Green, will significantly increase demand and market size
- Strategic location on commuter route SR885/Second Avenue offers a unique advantage
- Benchmark revenues projected within 2–3 years, that will continue to grow over 5–10 years
Executive Project Team
Executive Director and Fiscal Agent
Saundra Cole-McKamey, Founder and CEO, P.O.O.R.L.A.W.
Senior Development Consultant
Pastor Lutual Love, of Praise Temple Deliverance Church and Co-Founder of GH-CARED
Joe Massaro III, President and CEO, Massaro Construction Group
Manager of Business Outreach and Development
Bill Bailey, Founder and President, D. Well & Associates LLC
Marketing and Communications Consultant
Krish Pandya, Managing Partner, Oak Moss Consulting
Project Development and Community Outreach
Unity in the Community
Saundra Cole, President, and Lutual M. Love, Sr., Pastor, Praise Temple Deliverance Church
Grassroots group clears 1st hurdle toward hoped-for Hazelwood grocery store
November 18, 2021 by Rich Lord
It’s decision time on Pittsburgh’s ‘next frontier’ for redevelopment
November 1, 2021 by Rich Lord
After decades without a grocery store, Hazelwood residents want to build it themselves
October 5, 2021 by Margaret J. Krauss