A Baton Rouge developer says he plans to build a new grocery store in Scotlandville by early next year, potentially bringing new supplies of fresh foods to a part of the Capital City with few options for grocery shopping.
The proposed grocery store, which would include a pharmacy and sit near the intersection of Harding Boulevard and Scenic Highway — would create about 100 jobs and boost sales tax revenue coming from the area, said Mike Kimble, who briefly presented his preliminary plan on Saturday at a Baton Rouge meeting of Together Louisiana.
The plans are still preliminary — funding has not been fully secured and the specific grocer has not been finalized. Kimble aims to open the store sometime early next year.
“The focus is on bringing those products to the community,” Kimble said. “It’s going to be pretty exciting.”
Two weeks ago, Kimble broke ground on another grocery store in Grambling, in Lincoln Parish, that also brings goods to an area lacking similar alternatives, he said. Kimble aims to mimic the process in Baton Rouge. Kimble noted that the closest stores nearby would be the Piggly Wiggly on Plank Road and grocery stores in Baker.
More than 70,000 residents of the Capital City live in “food deserts,” according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture — and city officials have said between 17 and 23 percent of the residents in East Baton Rouge Parish have limited access to grocery stores.
In Scotlandville, residents spend an estimated $38 million a year on food but are forced to buy goods outside the neighborhood because no grocery store exists nearby.
Follow Daniel Bethencourt on Twitter: @_dbethencourt.