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A Red Circle aims to open a grocery store owned and operated by north county residents

A Red Circle has raised $7,054 of the $100,000 needed to bring a community-owned grocery store to St. Louis County.
A Red Circle
A Red Circle has raised $7,054 of the $100,000 needed to bring a community-owned grocery store to St. Louis County.

When the Kirkwood-based grocery chain Shop N Save shuttered its doors in 2018, many north St. Louis County residents were left with few options for purchasing affordable, healthy food.

“Some of the former buildings became Schnucks’ stores, whereas three of the buildings that are located in very highly concentrated, populated neighborhoods did not become stores,” said Erica Williams, the founder and executive director of A Red Circle. “We were left with three very large, vacant buildings.”

Listen to Erica Williams on St. Louis on the Air

Residents must now drive farther and pay more to maintain a nutritious diet, Williams told St. Louis on the Air. It’s these burdens that motivate her new goal: to create a community-owned and operated grocery store that will not only feed residents, but also create jobs and raise tax revenue for local schools.

“We want to be able to feed into the economic development of the region,” Williams said. “It's not just food, but it’s jobs; it’s revenue. This can be a holistic way to meet the goal of A Red Circle, which is to promote community betterment in north county through a racial equity lens.”

To date, Williams has raised more than $7,200 of the $100,000 needed for the endeavor. A Red Circle is eyeing a former dry cleaner’s office in unincorporated St. Louis County just south of Black Jack as its future home.

On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, Williams also discussed the success of other recent A Red Circle projects, including the North County Agricultural Education Center and Healthy Flavor Community Garden & Market.

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, and Kayla Drake. Jane Mather-Glass is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.