Treasures Markets, a discount grocery and general merchandise store that will gives its proceeds to charity, opened June 30 in Lancaster city, filling a gap left by the closure of the Giant at 215 N. Reservoir St.Read More »
By: Paula Wolf, Contributing WriterTreasures Markets, a discount grocery and general merchandise store that will gives its proceeds to charity, opened June 30 in Lancaster city, filling a gap left by the closure of the Giant at 215 N. Reservoir St. It’s housed in a 27,000-square-foot building at 515 N. Franklin St., site of the former Farmers Supply hardware store, behind McCaskey High School. When the Giant closed, it left the neighborhood without a traditional grocery store, said developer Mike Mitchell. “It’s nice to bring fresh food back to the city at bargain prices,” he said. Mitchell, the former owner of Amelia’s discount grocery chain, developed Treasures Markets in collaboration with Water Street Mission, the Social Enterprise Institute at Elizabethtown College and the High Foundation. He is executive director of the High Center at the college. The grocery section of Treasures, featuring dairy, produce and meat sections, operates the way Amelia’s did, selling closeout products from brand-name manufacturers at a deep discount. Treasures Markets sells more than groceries; about half the store is general merchandise – furniture, appliances, clothing, shoes – bought in closeouts from companies such as Sears, Kmart and Walmart, Mitchell said. Some donations will be accepted as well (see treasuresmarkets.com/donations). Some of the appliances, shoes, clothing and housewares at Treasures came from a Sears in Baltimore liquidating its merchandise, he said. “Treasures believes that no family should have to choose between feeding your child or putting a coat on their back,” according to a statement on its website explains. “At Treasures we will make sure we meet both needs.” The website cites Proverbs 22:9: “The generous will themselves be blessed, for they share their food with the poor.” Owned by a nonprofit organization, Treasures Markets will donate its proceeds to Water Street Mission and other charities. “It all goes back into the community,” Mitchell said. The business is getting more and more traffic, and positive feedback on its Facebook page, he said. One customer wrote: “Very nice store. Good bargains. Has a variety of everything. Nice and clean. Employees are very friendly.” Another said: “Absolutely wonderful. Love it so much.” A third commented: “It was awesome! So excited to have a grocery store again in my neighborhood!” The store itself expects to hire 25 to 30 people, plus seven more to work in the warehouse, Mitchell said. Water Street Mission’s job-training program, Step Up, will be a source for employees. “We’re going to pay competitive wages,” he said. According to its website, Treasures Markets “offers a variety of career training and employment opportunities in the community they serve, with an emphasis on individuals with disabilities and those facing long-term unemployment and homelessness.” The jobs created are expected to pay an average annual wage $27,768. It is projected that 92% of the jobs will be accessible to low-income individuals. The $5 million Treasures project included Commonwealth Cornerstone New Market Tax Credits, a Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant, and $3 million in debt service financing from Community First Fund. The High Foundation provided a donation and a line of credit, Mitchell said. Dan Betancourt, president and CEO of Community First Fund, said the $3 million is equivalent to a first mortgage. The project checked a lot of boxes in what the lender is looking for in revitalizing underserved neighborhoods, he said. “There’s definitely an intersection between economics and health,” Betancourt said, noting that children who eat healthy foods do better in school, which has wide-reaching, positive ramifications down the road. Mitchell hopes to open more Treasures Markets. And like the one in Lancaster, the money generated will stay in the local community.
July 15, 2020 1:41 pm Leave a comment