Governor Tom Wolf announced that Commonwealth Cornerstone Group (CCG) has completed a $5 million New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) transaction to renovate a vacant commercial building in Lancaster creating a combination thrift and grocery store. The new retail shop plans to open this year.
The 27,000-square-foot retail space, located at 515 N. Franklin St., will be known as Treasures Market, and it aims to provide affordable merchandise and fresh food in a section of Lancaster that currently lacks access to these items. The store will offer discounted groceries, furniture, clothing and other retail items made available from closeouts and donations. Additionally, Treasures Market will provide jobs for low-income people and for those facing barriers to employment.
“This new store will be a welcome sight for surrounding communities in Lancaster County,” said Governor Wolf. “The U.S. Department of Agriculture has identified three ‘food deserts’ in nearby areas that now will have access to fresh groceries that currently aren’t available. Closer proximity to more nutritious food will improve the quality of life for people there.”
Treasures Market is expected to serve more than 31,000 people living within a one-mile radius of the store. About 61 percent of these people are considered low-income and 44 percent have low access to food, based on economic mapping data. The area served by the new store has an unemployment rate 2.33 times the national average.
The new market will be jointly run by a subsidiary of the Treasures of Hope Foundation, known as Treasures Markets, and by the Water Street Mission. Treasures Markets will manage the day-to-day operation of the store. The Water Street Mission will facilitate the placement of low-income people and others facing barriers to work for employment at the market. Treasures Markets will distribute a portion of its profits to the mission in support of its work within the community.
“The market’s customers and its employees will all benefit from the creation of this new store,” said PHFA Executive Director and CEO Robin Wiessmann. “People who weren’t able to find employment elsewhere will get the training and jobs they need to get work experience and become more self-reliant.”
This project is expected to create 10 temporary, full-time construction jobs. Following renovation of the building, the project is expected to support 40 employees with an average starting wage of $12.33 an hour, or $25,646 a year. Based on the educational requirements of the new jobs, it’s estimated that 92 percent of these positions, or 37 jobs, will be accessible to low-income people.
Treasures Markets will begin outreach efforts to hire people facing barriers to employment, including homelessness, disabilities, prior incarceration and long-term unemployment. These employees will receive career training and opportunities for advancement.