In an effort to provide healthy and affordable food to Patten Towers residents, Innovation District organizations are partnering to bring a small market to the ground floor of the East 11th Street building.
The store, called Bingo’s Market, is slated to open in October.
The market will sell fresh produce, grocery staples, household items, $1 coffee from Mad Priest Coffee Roasters, and grab-and-go breakfast and lunch options.
Causeway, The Enterprise Center, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chattanooga and the company that oversees Patten Towers, PK Management, launched an ongoing crowdfunding campaign to raise $10,000 through Generosity.com for the project.
People who give money to the campaign will receive a gift card that can be used at the store for the amount given (up to $100), along with some other perks, such as stickers, reusable grocery bags and a punch card for free coffee, according to a news release.
The organizers are using the campaign as a way to spread the word and build a strong group of loyal customers leading up to the store’s opening, according to a news release.
“Innovation is all about solving problems,” Causeway Executive Director Abby Garrison said in a prepared statement. “There was an obvious opportunity in front of us to harness the emerging spirit of innovation and use it to address a big problem facing some of the most vulnerable members of our community.”
The store will be on the ground floor of Patten Towers in a room that has an external entrance facing Georgia Avenue, across from The Pickle Barrel.
PK Management is allowing the group to use the space rent-free.
“We are thrilled to be entering into a partnership that is addressing the needs of our residents, ensuring that they are treated as valued members of the Chattanooga community,” PK Management Community Development Vice President Joyce Walker said in a prepared statement. “We are committed to helping this store and our residents thrive.”
The store will be open for a six-month pilot period. In that time, the organizers are hoping to make it financially sustainable so that it can be passed off to a local entrepreneur to run as a viable business, according to a news release.
In summer 2015, Causeway and The Company Lab received a grant from the Lyndhurst Foundation to support their work connecting Patten Towers and the Innovation District.
Through the summer and fall, employees of those organizations and The Enterprise Center started building relationships with the residents of Patten Towers. They played bingo with the residents every other week, hosted a weekly business class, sponsored a health fair with more than 50 vendors and facilitated several focus groups to better understand the residents’ needs, according to a news release.
In one survey, 51 percent of residents said access to food is the biggest issue they face.
People can give to the crowdfunding campaign through this link.