From Steve Markel:
Richmond’s East End Redevelopment Initiative Moves Forward
VCU plans health education and wellness center; Local Executive named to lead grocery store
RICHMOND, Va. (Nov. 16, 2017) – The Church Hill North Retail Center, a mixed-use project at 25th Street and Nine Mile Road, announces two important developments related to the grocery store.
Virginia Commonwealth University and VCU Health System will develop a health education and wellness center that will serve residents of Richmond’s East End. Additionally, Norm Gold, a FeedMore executive with decades of food services experience, including 24 years as a former grocer, will lead the development and management of the new full service grocery store.
Gold currently serves as the COO of FeedMore, Central Virginia’s core hunger-relief organization serving 34 cities and counties. Gold oversees the organization’s programs, including the Meals on Wheels, Kids Café, Weekend BackPacks and Mobile Pantry programs, as well as logistics and operations of the organizations Community Kitchen and Distribution Center. Prior to moving to Richmond, Gold served as COO of St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in Phoenix, Arizona, where he coordinated with hundreds of agencies, farmers, growers and food manufacturers to expand the distribution of food to hungry people throughout the state. Before food banking, Gold worked in the retail grocery field for 24 years, managing Lucky Stores in Southern California and ABCO Foods in Phoenix, Arizona.
“Given Norm’s decades of experience in the grocery business and food banking, along with his sincere passion for helping those in need – there simply could not be a better fit. FeedMore’s significant loss will be the East End’s significant gain. We are committed to collaborating in any way towards the Project’s ultimate success and nationally recognized model status,” says Doug Pick, FeedMore’s CEO.
“I am so fortunate to be able to combine both of my passions in this project- helping people and communities and working in the grocery industry. Playing a role in helping our community thrive has been one of the most fulfilling aspects of my life and I’m truly looking forward to working with Kathie and Steve Markel and the incredible partners included in this project to make a positive difference for Church Hill,” says Gold.
Gold will begin his new post full-time with the 27,000-square-foot full service grocery store in January. Projected opening for the store is late 2018, bringing an estimated 65 to 70 job opportunities to the community.
The health education and wellness center will be located adjacent to the grocery store at the intersection of Nine Mile Road and 25th Street as part of the larger redevelopment initiative that also features apartments and the culinary institute operated by J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. The VCU center will complement Bon Secours’ Sarah Garland Jones Center, which is already in the area. VCU and VCU Health System are working with partners to complement and enhance resources rather than duplicate them. More than 15 VCU and VCU Health System academic and clinical units have signed up to offer services and programming at the health education and wellness center, making it an inter- professional training ground for students and faculty.
The 5,600-square-foot center will include health education and screening spaces, a community room, student and faculty space, and ample parking, security and lighting. Most services will be provided at no charge by interdisciplinary teams of VCU faculty and students who are working either as a community service activity or as part of their academic program. The health education and wellness center is projected to open its doors in late 2018 and will be integrated into the customer experience at the grocery store, empowering consumers to make healthy choices and conveniently access services.
Through the leadership of VCU’s new Center for Urban Communities, the university is incorporating voices from the community into the planning process to create a sustainable initiative that reflects the East End’s needs and demonstrates VCU and VCU Health System’s collective commitment to the neighborhood. VCU has partnered with Engaging Richmond, part of VCU’s Center for Society in Health, to develop a community outreach plan that engages key stakeholders in the East End, including service providers, community leaders and residents. Ongoing engagement efforts will include surveys and focus groups as well as other ways to engage residents on an ongoing basis in the operation of the center. The planned services align with information gathered from initial engagement efforts with the residents as well as from a survey conducted by VCU and the 7th District Health and Wellness Initiative.
Additional information about the VCU Health and Wellness Center, please visit:
“I am elated that our community partners – Steve Markel, VCU and VCU Health System, American Heart Association, Bon Secours, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, the City of Richmond, and others – have come together, engaging with residents and collectively addressing East End resident’s articulated food access, health, economic, and education challenges,” said The Honorable Cynthia Newbille, councilwoman for Richmond’s East End 7th Voter District.
The Church Hill North Retail Center, supported by philanthropist Steve and Kathie Markel, is a comprehensive project for the revitalization of a portion of the Nine Mile Road and 25th Street corridors. It will provide new resources in an area of the East End identified as a food desert and where a majority of residents live in poverty and have poor health outcomes. In addition to the VCU Center and the Grocery Store, the center will include the Reynolds Culinary Institute and 54 apartments. The goal of the project is to help build a healthy community in Church Hill.
“This entire project is about building a healthy community,” Markel said. “It’s not just a grocery store, or a wellness center or a school individually. It’s an opportunity to bring many great community partners together to create opportunities, resources and healthy options for the residents.”