Gem City Market
The Gem City Market is a community- and worker-owned cooperative grocery store in development in West Dayton.
A full-service grocer, GCM will offer affordable, quality kitchen staples, including fresh produce and deli, as well as specialty local and organic products. The store’s worker-owners will ensure exceptional service. A café, community room, teaching kitchen, and other amenities will make the Market a hub of community health and wellness.
The idea for a cooperative grocery store began with a series of community meetings in 2015 that were organized by the City and County Department of Public Health. At the meetings, residents reviewed opportunity maps that showed the disparities in health outcomes and access to fresh groceries across Dayton, with high rates of diet-related illness and low access to groceries on the West side.
Residents and stakeholders formed a committee to focus on the issue of food access. Through their research, they were inspired by a cooperative grocery project in Cincinnati, Ohio, the Apple Street Market, and began a business planning process to determine if and how a cooperative grocery could be feasible in West Dayton. With support from the City and County as well as the University of Dayton’s Business Research Group, the committee commissioned a professional market study and administered a market survey.
Once they confirmed that a grocery store was feasible, the committee incorporated the cooperative Gem City Market, adapting the bylaws from Apple Street. With leadership from Co-op Dayton, the Market’s Board and supporters have developed a financial model; launched a capital campaign and membership drive; and negotiated control of a site on lower Salem Avenue. Currently, the architectural team is developing designs, and the Board is moving as quickly as possible towards construction and an opening day in late 2019!