New grocery store opens in Uptown Harrisburg, helping fill food desert void

Harrisburg

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Many people who live in Harrisburg have a hard time finding fresh food nearby. Much of the city is considered a food desert. A new grocery store on 6th Street in Uptown hopes to fill that void.

Market Fresh just had its grand opening on Friday.

According to USDA data from 2019, 35% of households in the immediate area are without vehicles and more than half a mile from a supermarket.

Uptown Harrisburg has a number of small corner stores and mini-markets but nowhere really to buy fresh produce and nutritional food.

Several years ago, Camila Contreras’s father, took notice while driving through town.

“He realized that OK, the stores are really far in between, there’s not much, like it’s a food desert as you said, so basically like I said he saw it as an opportunity to grow and help the community out,” Contreras said.

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Her father bought the building two years ago and Market Fresh finally opened this weekend. Contreras is the manager.

“Pretty much it’s a smaller grocery store. We offer cereal, bread, milk, eggs, like a lot of dairy products, yogurt, frozen prepackaged like hot pockets,” Contreras said.

The new store also has a deli counter, fresh fruits and vegetables.

“This is our meat section. We offer anything from beef, chicken and pork items. And this is our Goya section. I would say it’s pretty big,” Contreras said.

Having these options nearby is something neighbors say is important.

“Very important because some people don’t have vehicles to go travel to Giant or Save-A-Lot so it’s just easy to walk around the corner and come to this store,” Shermaine Harvey said.

Contreras says she’s gotten very positive reactions from customers.

“A lot of suggestions, ‘oh can you bring this item?’ ‘I don’t see that you have this.’ ‘Oh, can you try and maybe bring this item next?'” Contreras said.

It’s filling a need in the city by increasing access to healthy food.

“I’d love for people to come by and see if maybe they can find something that they would like,” Contreras said.

Market Fresh is open every day from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. except Sunday until 6 p.m.

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