Convenience store chain investing millions to fight food deserts

Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 5:41 PM EDT
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PORT HENRY, N.Y. (WCAX) - The new Stewart's Shop in the village of Port Henry has officially opened. This store is a new concept for the company, aiming to tackle a lack of food store options.

"We have some major food deserts in the region," said Brittany Christenson of ADK Action.

The new, 4,200-square-foot store sits where the old grocery store sat in the village.

Port Henry is now considered a food desert-- a place where it's hard to find affordable and good quality fresh food. Community members would need to travel upward of 30 minutes to get groceries,

"A lot of people don't have automobiles," said Ruth Hargreaves of Port Henry.

Stewart's Shops hopes to help combat food deserts by investing $25 million into rebuilding its stores in communities that don't have grocery stores. The Port Henry shop is the first prototype to open that would offer more fresh, healthier options like meats, potatoes, fresh fruit and veggies.

"Staples that you need where you don't have to run 20 miles to get. It's been a godsend," Moriah Town Supervisor Tom Scozzafava said.

"The fact that they are considering playing a larger role in food access, especially healthy food access is great for our region," Christenson said.

Port Henry is the first of three new prototypes coming to the Adirondacks. Construction just began at the shop in Keene.

“I mean it has to be perfect for rural areas,” said Sen. Betty Little, R-Queensbury. “A big grocery store, they don’t have the population enough to support that but to be able to support this is perfect for them.”

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