Manuel B. Vicente has owned and operated a grocery store Brockton, MA, for 20 years that started as a small specialty food store and has grown into a full-size supermarket. In spring 2015, Vicente opened a second store that almost doubles the size of the existing store and creates a modern, full-service store catering to the tastes and preferences of the Cape Verdean community that predominates the city of Brockton, a suburb south of Boston. The market is located in a low-income census tract (55% of AMI) and serves residents of Limited Supermarket Access areas.
“We look at ourselves as being leaders in the community, not only with the products and services we provide, but for everyday quality of life. A supermarket’s always an anchor to any neighborhood.”
Vicente’s is co-located with Brockton Neighborhood Health Center (BHNC), a well-respected federally qualified health center that offers adult primary care adjacent to the new supermarket. In the new clinic space, BNHC has a full-time nutritionist and a new teaching kitchen. The nutritionist works with patients looking to purchase healthy food options from the grocery store. The nutritionist is also helping develop new recipes for Vicente’s prepared food section, a big component to their business. The new recipes will offer tasty, ethnic flavors with healthier ingredients. Guided by BNHC, the store will also use retail merchandizing strategies based on current research to promote the purchase healthier offerings without impacting store revenues.
The poverty rate in Brockton, a lower income suburb south of Boston, is 16%; in the census tract where the supermarket will be located, 25% of people live in poverty, and 47% of residents of the adjacent census tract (within a half mile) live in poverty. The new supermarket brought nearly 100 full-time equivalent jobs.
Reinvestment Fund and Boston Community Capital (BCC) partnered to finance the acquisition of the five-acre blighted shopping plaza anchored by a 33,000 square foot dark supermarket. With BCC and LISC, we also provided debt financing to develop the supermarket. JPMorgan Chase and the Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation provided NMTCs with Chase as the investor.