FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) -- The days of driving 10 to 15 minutes out of downtown to get even the most basic groceries may be ending. A new mini-grocery store is opening in the 202 Metro Building later this year.
Beth Nieter has been living downtown for three years now.
“It’s convenient for going to work and we just wanted to be part of it because the downtown is just growing,” Nieter said.
What’s not convenient - the lack of supermarkets. She has to trek to Meijer on Illinois Road to shop.
“I mean that’s the whole point of being down here, is to not have to get in your car and drive somewhere."
When she found out about the new grocery store opening at 202 Metro, she was overjoyed.
“For us living at Skyline, it would be perfect because it’s literally across the street,” she said.
When Junk Ditch Brewing Company Co-Owner Dan Campbell was asked if he ever thought he’d be opening a grocery shop, he said “anything’s a possibility.”
Since its opening in 2015, Junk Ditch has always focused on supporting local businesses.
“From when we started the food truck, to now and going forward,” Campbell said.
The grocery store will reflect that.
“There’s really great local growers and farmers in this region specifically, in northeast Indiana,” he said.
GK Baked Goods Owner Grace Kelly May agrees.
“Indiana is so great. It has such a great food scene in we’re able to produce in our own backyard,” May said.
City of Fort Wayne Spokesman John Perlich says this is filling a longtime need.
“The larger grocery chains have indicated that because of the proximity to their stores right outside of downtown, it wouldn’t make sense for their business model to have a downtown facility,” Perlich said.
Which has made it difficult for residents who don’t have the ability to drive ten minutes out of the downtown area.
“We also know that there are areas in our community that are known as food deserts, that have a lack of access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” he said.
Perlich says this grocery store is one step towards fixing this issue.
They plan to have the project done in late 2021, early 2022 pending how fast construction happens.