In 2010, Reinvestment Fund provided financing to Mariposa Food Co-op to acquire and renovate its new facility. This member-owned food cooperative sells fresh produce and educates consumers on the benefits of healthy eating. Mariposa has had double-digit sales growth in recent years, but its space has limited the ability to expand. Reinvestment Fund was able to help this small business secure the financing needed to scale up operations.
“In 2010 an independent study of the development potential of our section of West Philadelphia found that a fresh food grocery store was residents’ single highest priority. We are thrilled that Mariposa Food Co-op’s expansion will fill this void. Not only will Mariposa’s new store increase access to healthy food, but they are doing so in a way that keeps dollars local and creates jobs.”
The Community Design Collaborative, working with Re:Vision Architecture, completed a conceptual design for a new Mariposa facility. Reinvestment Fund then provided a loan which partially financed the acquisition and renovation of the new space, just a few blocks from its existing location. Construction began in July 2011 and doors opened in early 2012. The new store is five times the size of the current space and offers an expanded selection of locally-produced, organic and conventional products. A community meeting room is also available.
Mariposa’s expansion means a significant transformation for the organization, but also deeper contributions to the local and regional economy. With considerably more space and more customers, Mariposa has been able to expand its product lines and buying power, further supporting regional farmers and distributors of healthy and sustainable food.
The eco-renovation is contributing to the economic development on its recovering commercial corridor. In addition to the construction jobs created by the project, the new store created eight to ten permanent jobs. Since Mariposa Food Co-op is owned and operated by its members, profits are expected to stay in the neighborhood.