StarkFresh hopes to have a store in Alliance by early 2023

The Repository
The Repository

ALLIANCE – An impoverished area of the city might get a huge boost via a grocery store.

StarkFresh is planning to put a permanent store in Alliance and occupy a portion of the Alliance Neighborhood Center on South Linden Avenue, multiple officials confirmed.

StarkFresh executive director Tom Phillips said the non-profit was working with a group trying to revitalize the community center and install a grocery store there by early 2023.

"The neighborhood has always asked for and needed a grocery store," Phillips said. "We've always had our mobile truck a block away. This would be brick and mortar."

Mayor Alan Andreani said the project would benefit one of the city's more impoverished areas, where 76% of residents live in poverty.

Andreani said the center is "perfectly located" to provide for the surrounding neighborhoods – bordered by South Union Avenue, South Street, South Mahoning Avenue and East Broadway Street.

Curbing poverty

Officials with University of Mount Union are spearheading the project with a focus on curbing childhood poverty and offering job skills services for adults.

Kristine Still, dean of the College of Applied and Social Sciences, and Abby Honaker Schroeder, director of Regula Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement, have led the project.

They have co-written several grants to get the funds to see this initiative completed.

Schroeder said they started with building "a network of community partners" and exploring opportunities for Mount Union to create programming for adults and children.

She said the partners met at the Neighborhood Center in December to brainstorm and discuss what services were needed in Alliance, particularly in this area.

"One of the biggest things that kept coming up was access to groceries and food. There's not much of anything in that part of town especially a grocery store," Schroeder said.

StarkFresh highlights new services

StarkFresh would anchor the center with four other entities.

"Its a project that has been mulled around for a while and we were brought into it earlier this year," Phillips said. "And it has taken on steam. It is exciting."

Mount Union, one of the other four, would provide job and life skills programs and internships for adults, Schroeder said.

The other three are slated to be a clothing boutique, a sports ministry and a job readiness agency. But, Schroeder said, no leases have been signed – yet

Schroeder hopes to have more details on the project within a month. "But I am confident that we're going to revitalize the Neighborhood Center," she said.

Reach Benjamin Duer at 330-580-8567 or On Twitter: @bduerREP.

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