Horizon Goodwill Industries to Open Grocery Store in Food Desert

Horizon Goodwill Industries (HGI) recently announced it received a $50,000 grant from Truist Foundation to help create a full-service grocery store in the Hagerstown, MD, Core.

HGI will operate the grocery store at its downtown facility on Prospect Street. This unique venture will offer fresh food and household staples to the entire downtown area of Hagerstown, which the USDA has defined as a “food desert.”

Ron Bowers, HGI board chairman, said, “This type of initiative will help the people living and working in the center of Hagerstown, and hopefully, the investment will potentially be the spark to set in motion a considerable economic development comeback for the downtown area.”

This project was sparked by a conversation between the leadership of HGI, Meritus Health, and the Washington County Community Action Council around the Healthy Washington County Go For Bold initiative that launched in early 2020. That conversation centered on the challenges faced by many downtown residents with obtaining healthy food items and the resulting negative impact on the community’s health. Households within this area do not have easy access to a traditional grocery store. They must often rely on public transportation or walk great distances to reach conventional grocery stores. While convenience stores and fast-food restaurants are within easy reach, prices and selections are not health-oriented or affordable for many families.

“Through its new Hagerstown store, Horizon Goodwill Industries will provide the neighborhood access to healthier options, as well as employment and enrichment opportunities for members of the community,” said Robert Tuggle, western Maryland market president for Truist speaking on behalf of the Truist Foundation. “This grant is another way we inspire and build better lives and communities by helping deliver critical services to individuals and families across Maryland.”

HGI President & CEO Dr. David Shuster stated, “We appreciate the Truist Foundation for providing their support to this initiative. Equitable access to healthy food is an essential element for members of any community to enjoy healthy, safe, and productive lives. In addition to helping alleviate the food desert condition, the opening of a downtown grocery store will create new jobs and allows us to introduce job training opportunities in grocery retail, creating new career pathways and supporting other employers in this sector.”

The store will be located at 200 North Prospect Street in a portion of the HGI Mission Services building. Individuals who may benefit from HGI workforce development services will be able to access case managers to support ongoing challenges with employment, job skills, family concerns, and other social issues.

Brooke Grossman, chief mission officer of HGI, adds, “The Truist Foundation’s commitment to creating equal opportunities for everyone to thrive is a perfect fit for this project. We are looking forward to the opportunity to provide a vital resource to the core of Hagerstown.”

Construction and remodeling of a portion of the Prospect Street building will begin in early 2022 with a projected opening later in the year.

This post originally appeared in the Horizon Goodwill Industries newsroom. Read more.