Circle Food Store receives $1 million loan

New Orleans, La. - Mayor Mitch Landrieu, the Hope Enterprise Corporation and The Food Trust announced major funding from the New Orleans Fresh Food Retailer Initiative for the historic Circle Food Store.

The Circle Food Store, located at 1522 St. Bernard Avenue, was first incorporated in 1938 and for years was a pillar of the community before it closed following Hurricane Katrina.

The total estimated cost for The Circle Food Store to re-open is $9.2 million, with the FFRI offering a loan of $1Million, with a forgivable amount of $500,000.

The FFRI loan will allow the store to re-open. This project will create an estimated 75 new jobs, many directed to residents of the Seventh Ward and bordering Treme neighborhood.

In addition to fresh food, the store has also historically provided a pharmacy, a doctor, a dentist, a chiropractor, check cashing and banking, and a place to buy school uniforms. The building was badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina and subsequently closed.

The Fresh Food Retailer Initiative, launched in March 2011, plans to award $14 million worth of low-cost, flexible financing to enable vendors, such as The Circle Food Store, to open, renovate or expand retail outlets that sell fresh fruits and vegetables in lower-income areas of the city where access to fresh foods has been lacking.

In addition to the FFRI loan, the City will provide a $100,000 Economic Development Fund  grant, which was previously awarded in 2009, to the project.