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Gem City Market Organizers Honored As Co-op Membership Grows

Organizers for Gem City Market, a planned co-operative community grocery store in West Dayton, received the Coretta Scott King Justice award at a ceremony at Antioch College Wednesday. The news comes just weeks after another West Dayton grocery store closed its doors.  

If Gem City's fundraising effort is successful, construction will begin early next year. The store is set to open in the summer of 2019.
Credit April Laissle / WYSO

Lela Klein and Amaha Sellassie were recognized for their years long work planning the co-op store, a project they hope will alleviate food insecurity for people living on the city’s west side.

The closure of an Aldi store in West Dayton has made that work even more crucial, says Sellassie.

“It’s a huge blow to our community and it even changes our trajectory - our market projections counted Aldi being there. So now we’re trying to see how we can adapt to that.”

Nearly 900 people have already become members of Gem City Market. Sellassie says they’re on track to break ground on the new store later this year. It’s set to officially open in 2019.

Other Coretta Scott King award recipients include activist Tamika Mallory and professor Dr. Kevin McGruder.

WYSO is licensed to Antioch College.

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