The Memphis City Council voted Tuesday to allow a grocery store feasibility study to take place here.
The decision to fund the study comes after Kroger closed its stores in the Southgate shopping center on 3rd and at Lamar and Airways in Orange Mound last month.
Consulting firm Socially Twisted will conduct the $18,500 study to determine the sustainability of a grocery store at these two locations.
Councilman Edmund Ford Jr., who sponsored the resolution to fund the study, said as a result of the two Kroger stores closing, members of the community are forced to travel too far to go grocery shopping.
“Every day that we don’t have a grocery store in those locations, you have individuals that have to walk, or find a ride, or have to take the bus approximately seven to nine miles just to get food, and that’s unconscionable,” he said.
Rhonnie Brewer of Socially Twisted said the study will reveal how many people are actually affected by the stores closing, as well as provide a detailed look at food insecurity in other parts of the city.
She said this data will then be used to determine the total number of grocery stores Memphis needs to meet the food needs in every community.
“We have an immediate need right now because of the closure of those stores, but I believe the impact of the study will be bigger than just filling in the gaps,” Brewer said.
The study should be completed within two weeks, in time for the council to hear the findings at its next meeting on March 20th.
Additionally, the council began a discussion on ways to incentivize grocery store developments in the city’s underserved neighborhoods.