East Cleveland, a community in Northeast Ohio, U.S., has been confirmed as a food desert. Many residents of the community shop outside of the area to purchase many of their desired items, finds a new study by the East Cleveland Growth Association (ECGA).
“We have known for some time that residents have difficulty purchasing the fresh meats, produce, and deli items they want. This independent study confirms that belief,” says Sean Ward, CEO and founder of the nonprofit organization.
And it’s not just grocers that the community lacks. Other retail segments the community needs include auto dealers/auto parts and general merchandise, according to the study. Motor Vehicle & Parts Dealers have the greatest positive retail gap amount at $22.7 million in economic opportunity. Food & Beverage Stores and General Merchandise Stores also have large retail gap values at $16.2 million and $14.6 million, respectively. These categories show the greatest opportunity for retail recapture in respect to overall dollar value.
The study highlights an opportunity for retailers to capture retail sales with local residents and draw in neighboring communities. The ECGA plans to work with existing local retailers to improve their offering to the community and to encourage other retailers to consider East Cleveland’s opportunity.
The study was performed by site selection and economic development firm Goldstone Consulting Group over the past several months. It included a survey of community members as well as visit to the community. The full report is available at www.ecgrowth.org.