On Friday, Nov. 4, Jen Saffron and Derek Dumont took another step toward opening the doors of the new Millvale Market with a sneak peek that gathered members of the community, local food advocates and politicians.
“This is a community-run space,” Saffron, who also owns Sprezzatura Cafe in Millvale, told the gathering. “We are prepared and ready to serve.”
Millvale Market at 524 Grant Ave. doesn’t expect to welcome its first shoppers until early in 2023.
Dumont said once the market begins operations it will be open seven days a week offering an assortment of local produce, dairy products, grocery staples, prepared foods and coffee.
He ran a similar market concept in New Orleans and says his retail experience and relationships with local farmers, combined with Saffron’s culinary skills, helped the plan come together.
“We certainly have the intention to work with as many local producers and farmers as possible,” Dumont said. “We are very conscious of the fact that local can sometimes mean ‘expensive’ for folks in a low- to moderate-income community. Millvale Market will be focused on affordability.”
The 1,900-square-foot space has received funding from a wide variety of sources, including a $15,000 loan from Kiva, a San Francisco-based, crowdsourced microlending platform that helps entrepreneurs by providing access to interest-free capital. Kiva Pittsburgh is one of 43 hubs the company operates across the U.S.
Millvale Market also received a $45,000 seed grant from the Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, a statewide funding program through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development. The initiative’s mission is to establish access to fresh produce in underserved areas across the state.
“This is the latest chapter of neighbors coming together,” Sara Innamorato, the state representative for Millvale, told the crowd on Friday.
Millvale Mayor Brian Spoales told the gathering that the market fills a need in the community, which doesn’t have a grocery store. He said that it will be especially helpful for senior citizens as well as the newest and youngest residents who don’t use cars to get around.
Millvale Market joins a growing network of neighbors helping neighbors, which includes New Sun Rising, Millvale Community Library, Triboro Ecodistrict, North Hills Community Outreach and the local government.
This article updates Kristy Locklin’s previous story for NEXTpittsburgh.