What does an oasis in a food desert look like? It could resemble a converted shipping container mini grocery store. At least that's the concept behind Stockbox Grocers, a new venture to bring essential grocery items and fresh produce to urban areas with poor access to healthy and affordable food. Last Monday, the miniature grocer opened its prototype market in the Delridge area of Seattle, which will be opened for two months to test out the model. Within a year, Stockbox hopes to convert at least four shipping containers into mini markets to place in urban food deserts around Seattle.
Stockbox’s grand vision is to have stores located in urban deserts so that residents have somewhere within walking or biking distance to buy fresh food. There’s no need to build a giant grocery store – a mini market can easily meet the demands of a dense community. Stockbox hopes to build these markets out of converted shipping containers and place them in parking lots of partnering organizations. “Our goal is to bring food back to communities, and focus on communities that don’t currently have good access to food and are heavily dependent on public transportation,” says founder and owner Carrie Ferrence.
On Monday, September 12, Ferrence and her partner Jacqueline Gjurgevich opened their first pop up market located in the parking lot of the West Haven Apartments in Delridge. The market will be open for about two months to test out the market viability, products and business model. This first market is built out of a prefabricated container common to the construction industry and used for on-site offices. The next phase of the markets will be converted out of 20′ shipping containers, which will actually be a step up in size. By the end of the year, the start-up company hopes to have 4 shipping container markets located around the city. Each store can have 5 customers at a time, needs only 1 attendant and is open 7 days a week.
“A lot of people who come in are breaking down the myth that people of low income and mixed income don’t want access to organic or natural food,” Ferrence tells GOOD. In the first week, the shop proved to be successful and interestingly enough, the most popular items were orange juice, lemons, Dave’s Killer Bread, corn and Annie’s Mac and Cheese.
Images ©Stockbox Grocers