New Grocery Store To Open In East Chattanooga Food Desert

Chattanooga, TN – Save-A-Lot will hold their grand opening at 2230 Dodson Avenue on Nov. 28th.

The grocery store opened to the public last week in an area that is recognized as a food desert.

The USDA defines a food desert as an urban census tract where 20 percent of the residents live below the poverty line and 33 percent live over a mile away from a grocery store.

According to WDEF, Chattanooga has close to 30,000 residents living in what the USDA defines as a food desert.

WRCB reports that the new Save-A-Lot grocery store will have meats, produce, and other household necessities.

“We have everything that you need and if we do not have it, we will order it for you,” said Christina Mack, a manager.

Bringing a grocery store to an insecure food-access area should help those that struggle to travel to far-away stores.

Senator Todd Gardenhire sponsored a Healthy Food Financing Bill in February this year to help finance and incentivize new grocery store openings.

“If you’ll go down in these areas that we don’t have a food store, we’ll give you some tax incentives, we’ll make funds available and we’ll make loans available if you meet certain conditions”, said Gardenhire

Senator Gardenhire, when speaking about the bill, also said, “Statistics show that obesity rates in the inner cities are the highest of any zip code than anywhere else and diabetes is the highest of any zip codes than anywhere else because they are not getting the healthy food that they need.”

In a controversial interview with News Channel 9 just in October, Senator Gardenhire notably linked the cause of obesity in Chattanooga to the consumption of fried chicken.

Senator Gardenhire’s Healthy Food Financing Act (SB 1619) was never brought to the floor for a vote.

WRCB reports that the $2 million Save-A-Lot store was funded primarily by Chattanooga private investor and business owner Chaudri Ali.

The Renewing Chattanooga grant program, funded by developer fees, gave Ali $30,000 for exterior improvements that promote safety.

Richel Albright, communications director for the City of Chattanooga, noted that exterior lights for parking lot safety is an example of such improvements.

The City will also be funding more streetscaping and beautification around the Save-A-Lot property.

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