PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- A hyperlocal grocery store is set to launch in South Philadelphia next week.
The South Philly Food Co-op is a full-service grocery store that officially will open its doors on December 23.
"This has been ten years in the making," said General Manager Lori Burge. "We're just absolutely delighted to be opening."
Action News was given a sneak peek at the 3300 square foot facility, which already stocked its shelves with goods from almost two dozen local suppliers.
The grocery store sits on Juniper Street just north of Snyder Avenue, which is an area that's considered a food desert.
"We don't have a lot of grocery stores that are full service within walking distance of this store, and in South Philly," said Burge. "A lot of folks get around on the bus, walking, and biking."
Liam Fleming, who's a neighboring resident, said, "If you don't have a car, it's hard to get access to good produce. So I usually have to go to a few different stores to get everything."
The pandemic this year highlighted the lack of accessibility for underserved communities, including parts of South Philadelphia.
Nonprofits have been giving out free food boxes all year to help those most in need.
"You hear stories about people not having food, needing to feed their family, so seeing them open a co-op store and seeing what we're doing, it's a desperate need," Anton Moore of nonprofit Unity in the Community said.
The grand opening is happening amidst the second COVID-19 wave, but at a time when new fresh food options are needed most in hard-hit neighborhoods.
There will be an occupancy limit, which currently means only 12 people will be allowed in the store at one time.
Markers will indicate flow of traffic to allow people to safely shop at a distance.