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The Hill District gets its first new grocery store in 30 years

The Hill District, a once-thriving cultural center which fell on hard times during urban renewal, will mark a major event in its path toward revival next Thursday when it welcomes a Shop ‘n Save into the community.

Located at 1850 Centre Avenue, the 29,500-square-foot supermarket will be the Hill District’s first new grocery store in more than 30 years.

“This is a food-poor area. People here wanted access to fresh food,” says Cheryl Hall-Russell, president and CEO of Hill House Association and the Hill House Economic Development Corporation, which owns the shopping center where the market is located and was instrumental in bringing it to the neighborhood. “People had tired of the conversation of whether or not the neighborhood deserved a grocery store. Food is just a basic need. It’s not about who deserves it.”

After years of negotiating with different chains, Hill House found a willing partner in Jeff Ross, who owns several Shop ‘n Save locations in several of western Pennsylvania’s underserved communities.

“The community wanted a full-service grocery store, and Ross Markets was willing to bring that. It’s a good brand that has a good reputation,” says Hall-Russell, who emphasized that one of the organization’s goals is to unify the Upper, Middle and Lower Hill. “There’s going to be a lot going on down there. I think it’s important that the Hill District be looked at as The Hill District. We’re going to have to work in concert with one another.”

The store will employ 120 people, 60 percent of whom hail from the Hill District. A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place next Thursday, and Hill House will hold a large block party to celebrate on the following Saturday.

Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Cheryl Hall-Russell
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