Planned Downtown supermarket fills food access need

Photo provided by DDD
Tuesday, December 10, 2013 - 6:53pm

A full service supermarket will be the first to serve Downtown Baton Rouge in over 50 years, and while the new market is a great win for development, it's also working to fill a need for fresh and accessible food in at least one of the capitol city's food deserts.

When Emily Umhoefer and her husband were picking which Baton Rouge neighborhood they wanted to live in walkability was key.

"Baton Rouge is a big time driving city and the traffic is terrible so it's really valuable to me to be able to bypass all of that and if I need something I can just walk around the corner," explained Umhoefer.

She said living in Spanish Town was perfect except for the lack of grocery stores, so when she heard a full Matherne's grocery store would be making a home at the old Capitol One bank building, she was pretty excited

"In terms of a bigger selection there's not really much around here, definitely nothing in walking distance. So we're excited to be able to hop around the corner and get whatever we need," said Umhoefer.

A full grocery store isn't just going to be convenient, it's also putting a supermarket in an area typically referred to as a food desert.

"What it does is it fills those service needs that you have if you want to live down here, work down here, to be able to go to the grocery store. So for residential it's huge," said Davis Rhor, director of Downtown Development.

Rhor said bringing a full grocery store to the area is all part of the bigger plan to breathe new life into downtown baton rouge.

"Getting this was important, as was more residential, as is more hotels and stuff to go with the river center and then building that climate for people who want to recreate down here, enjoy the downtown experience, or work down here," said Rhor.

The new Matherne’s will open its doors in Fall of next year.


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