Taxpayer-funded grocery store nourishing for Third Ward shoppers, economy

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Don't underestimate the impact a simple grocery store can have on a neighborhood. One year ago, city officials were breaking ground on a plan to do something about a so called "food desert" on the Houston's south side.

Pyburns Farm Fresh Foods Store has been open now for about a month, with the help of your tax dollars. They are called food deserts because they're places were those who live in poor communities have better chance of walking to a liquor store or a fast food chain to a grocery with healthy food.

Here's the twist. Houston taxpayers are helping to foot the bill for this store.

For most business owners, it's not worth the investment to build in a poor neighborhood like this one in.

Will taxpayers and voters be happy? Certainly the neighbors of the new Pyburns grocery story on Corder and Scott are.

"The people here in this area don't have to go that far. They come here in their little Motorola scooters and can get what they need. It's a great store for them," shopper Bernard Norman said.

The store is certainly well stocked. There's fresh meats and dairy, and plenty of vegetables and fruits too.

It's also created new jobs, too. So far, they've hired 40 employees, which is about double when the plan was announced to by local officials last year. Officials also set up the deal with clawback provisions to ensure taxpayers recouped their investments.

"We're revitalizing the economy. In this community, we're creating great jobs and we're providing very health food alternatives," said Neal Rackleff with the City of Houston.

Although many residents will enjoy having food alternatives, some might not have such a wide array of alternatives.
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