Beyond Housing welcomes Fields Foods after grocer left a gap in Pagedale
Pagedale had gone without a grocery store for over 40 years before discount grocery chain Save-A-Lot opened its doors in 2010. The community development nonprofit Beyond Housing fostered the relationship among Save-A-Lot, Pagedale and the surrounding municipalities that make up the Normandy Schools Collaborative footprint.
For the next 11 years, Save-A-Lot filled a decades-old food desert with the support of Beyond Housing. But the store closed in 2021, and the city was faced with the familiar absence of a trusted, well-run grocery.
Losing Save-A-Lot was more than losing convenience. Now, 17 months later, a new grocery store, from Fields Foods, is preparing for a grand opening in Pagedale on March 7.
“If [a grocery store] is part of a larger, intentional, comprehensive effort that's driven by the voice of the people who live there, we think great things can happen,” said Chris Krehmeyer, CEO of Beyond Housing, which serves as the landlord for the property. “We think it’s a bellwether for the entire region.”
The impact goes beyond access to food, Krehmeyer argued. He noted that, during the decade of Save-A-Lot’s operation, Pagedale saw a drop in crime and a boost in the average home sale price. “Clearly,” he said, “there is a belief both from a data standpoint and just from a sheer emotional standpoint that things are getting better."
Beyond Housing will not charge Fields Foods rent until a disclosed profit margin is reached, Krehmeyer said Tuesday. The grocery space has also seen renovations to include a new hot food bar and meat counter.
Once shoppers are welcomed into the new Fields Foods, Beyond Housing will continue to work on building 36 new homes in the area around the store as well as developing a 114-unit townhouse complex in Pine Lawn. Also on Tuesday, Krehmeyer broke news of a major investment in the nonprofit’s work — Ameren Missouri has committed $1 million to Beyond Housing.
With the grocery store opening, new housing developments and other wraparound services for students and families in the Normandy School Collaborative footprint, Krehmeyer and Beyond Housing have plenty to look forward to. “A lot of great work is happening. A lot of challenges are still left in front of us,” he said. “But we're excited about where we're at and where we're going.”
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