Virginia Community Capital (VCC) has deployed its first Virginia Fresh Food Loan to Glade Green Grocer, a whole foods retailer and food cooperative hybrid located in Glade Spring, Virginia. The new store expands upon the “healthy foods” movement emerging nationally and plays a key role in the revitalization of this rural town in Southwest Virginia. VCC’s Virginia Fresh Food Loan Fund (VFFLF) was launched in July 2013 to strengthen the healthy foods infrastructure across the Commonwealth.
Glade Green Grocer will provide retail shelf space, marketing, and commercial canning for area growers and food producers throughout the year in a convenient location at the heart of Glade Spring’s Town Square. The store is responding to increasing demand for fresh foods by consumers and a desire by growers and producers to sell their items all year utilizing advantages not typically found at most area farmers markets, including extended hours, the ability to take debit and credit cards, and enhanced marketing. The VCC loan will be used for construction retrofit of an existing building to accommodate the new business’s needs and for working capital.
VCC’s VFFLF is a $10 million fund earmarked for addressing the unmet capital needs of healthy food enterprises throughout rural and urban regions in Virginia and to catalyze the growth of Virginia's healthy foods sector. The VFFLF combines small business technical assistance as well as lending opportunities to increase the capacity of urban corner stores to sell and market healthy items and fosters the expansion and formation of food hubs primarily located in rural communities. The VFFLF serves as a new tool in building access to healthy foods in urban areas as well as strengthening the overall food system throughout rural Virginia.
A comprehensive revitalization of Glade Spring, Virginia, has been underway for several years. After a devastating tornado in 2011, town leaders began working with a broad array of community stakeholders to restore economic vitality throughout the downtown area. VCC played a key role in assembling resources for planning and collaboration. Numerous capital improvements along Main Street, including development of a farmer’s market, have combined with investments from business owners to energize the Central Business District and restore confidence, which has, in turn, led to more activity and interest.
For information on VCC's VFFLF contact Wayne Waldrop, Small Business Manager, at 804.793.0986 or firstname.lastname@example.org.