Since its opening in 2018, Produce Marketplace has served as Clairton’s neighborhood grocery store focused on healthy and local foods.
The store’s reach and impact grow each year. In 2022, Produce Marketplace had its most successful year on record with a 37% increase in sales over 2021. Nearly half of those sales were from Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, gift cards provided by local churches and organizations, and Food Bucks.
A program of Mon Valley Initiative, Produce Marketplace was created in direct response to residents’ concerns over the lack of fresh food access in Clairton following the closure of its last supermarket over 15 years ago. The store not only offers fresh produce but also deli meats and cheeses, dairy products, eggs, bread, and more. Access to fresh food is an essential component of individual and community health, and the store provides an alternative to prepackaged, processed foods from convenience and dollar stores in the area.
Another reason for Produce Marketplace’s success lies in its friendly, local staff, including Felix Fusco who is the store’s manager, creating an atmosphere of community and ensuring shoppers always have what they need.
“It feels like residents have accepted us as an important, stable part of the community. When we first opened, people thought we may not last; now, community members are asking about our future plans for the store,” Felix said.
Produce Marketplace is also working in partnership with Auberle’s Employment Institute and the Partner4Work Learn & Earn program to offer local teens paid internship opportunities year-round. Last year, interns worked closely with staff to learn customer service, inventory management, and retail marketing.
As it approaches its five-year anniversary this year, the store’s staff is excited for the prospect of building on local partnerships and increasing store offerings for community members.
Produce Marketplace is located at 519 St. Clair Ave. and is open every Tuesday through Saturday from 11 A.M. to 4 P.M.
To learn more about the store and follow its regular product offerings, follow its Facebook page. If you would like to donate to support Produce Marketplace’s mission, visit producemarketplace.org/donate.
Manager, Felix Fusco, and staff member, Loraine Lee, stand behind the cash register at Produce Marketplace.
Donald “Amzi” Lightner, a regular customer at Produce Marketplace, purchases groceries.
Learn & Earn interns, Cefus (middle) and Kaden (right), join Felix last summer.
MVI board members, Jane Flaherty and Dick Wallace, volunteer their time staffing the marketplace.