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Wilmington, N.C., February 21, 2024 – The New Hanover Community Endowment (NHCE) announced today it is investing $6,792,000 over three years in the construction and operation of the Northside Food Cooperative, a startup grocery store that will revitalize and bring healthy food access to the Northside neighborhood.

“This is the first step toward eradicating a 35-year-old food desert on Wilmington’s Northside,” said Bill Cameron, chairman of the NHCE board. “We’re excited to invest in grassroots solutions like the Northside Food Cooperative and look forward to partnering with them and New Hanover County to bring a grocery store to the community.”

This funding request was part of the 2023 Strategic Grant applications. The opportunity required additional engagement and learning before making the investment. Located at 10th and Post Streets, the Northside Food Cooperative will be a small-format, full-line store, selling primarily conventional groceries (think name brands that customers are familiar with), with an emphasis on fresh departments like produce, meat, and seafood. The Endowment’s investment will cover construction and design costs as well as provide capital to open the store.

“Our goal is to not only create a convenient destination where residents can buy fresh food but to enhance and invigorate the Northside community,” said Dorian Cromartie, chair of the Northside Food Cooperative board. “We are thrilled the Endowment has invested in this too-often forgotten historical community. The residents here have needed and been promised a store for decades. Finally, with the Endowment’s substantial help, these dreams will be realized.”

The Endowment is joining New Hanover County in the project. In January 2022, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners voted to build and construct a Northside grocery store as part of its community-building plan.

“We are thrilled that the Endowment has chosen to provide funding that will support the Northside Food Co-op over the next three years,” said Bill Rivenbark, chair of the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners. “This financial commitment is crucial in helping the ongoing partnership between New Hanover County and the Northside Food Co-op to address the food desert that has long impacted this community.”

A Northside grocery store is pivotal for community development and provides easy access to fresh, nutritious food, combating food deserts and promoting healthier lifestyles. Additionally, it drives economic growth, creating jobs and supporting local farmers and vendors. In essence, it champions food access, community development and resilience.

“This is more than a grocery store,” said Lakesha McDay, executive vice president of programs and operations at the New Hanover Community Endowment. “This was a promise made to the community decades ago. It is very exciting to team up with the county and the Northside Food Cooperative to make it a reality.”

The grocery store is currently in the planning and development phase with construction scheduled to commence in 2025 and a grand opening in early 2026.

The Northside Food Cooperative and its neighbors will celebrate this major milestone on Thursday at their Northside Community Dinner. The dinners are a free opportunity to enjoy a meal, connect with the community and the team, and learn more about the project. The dinner will take place from 6-8 pm at 901 Fanning St, Wilmington, NC 28401, and is open to all.

Northside Food Coop Grant:
Year One – $2,039,364
Year Two – $3,404,084
Year Three – $1,348,552
Total: $6,792,000


The New Hanover Community Endowment was established from the sale of the County-owned New Hanover Regional Medical Center to Novant Health in 2020. From its sale, the New Hanover County Board of Commissioners invested nearly $1.3 billion to form the endowment to benefit the community.

Media Contact:
Kevin Maurer
(910) 903-7995 (o)
(910) 322-4924 (m)

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