Courtesy of People's Community Market

Courtesy of People’s Community Market

It’s not a donation, and it’s not a Wall Street investment. It’s a way to help bring healthy, affordable food to West Oakland by purchasing shares in the People’s Community Market (PCM). Plans for this full-service grocery store and social hall got a huge boost this spring after an extensive search and negotiation for a site. In March, CEO Brahm Ahmadi announced that the business has leased property on San Pablo Avenue, with construction tentatively scheduled to begin by the end of the year. Local community investment has already provided about 62{94d79dd6af1e87a94e700e4c297236468333f22e27ed5757b44711974a9a4b91} of the $2 million fundraising goal.

Individuals can buy a minimum of $1000 in preferred stock through a public offering, which pays 3{94d79dd6af1e87a94e700e4c297236468333f22e27ed5757b44711974a9a4b91} annual interest. The interest begins earning as soon as the investment is made and starts to pay out after the store’s seventh year of operations.

If $1000 is a stretch, you can purchase pre-paid store credits through the Credibles website in denominations of $50, $100, $300, or $500. A purchase of $100 today gives you $110 in food once the store opens. And, to keep the tab affordable, PCM will offer lower prices for staples like produce and meat in contrast to higher-priced specialty and artisanal items. Shoppers who receive CalFresh benefits will get extra discounts on produce, meats, and a “Daily Dish” at the café.

Ahmadi, who co-founded the People’s Grocery in 2002, says that because traditional investors and banks weren’t willing to fund a market in a lower-income neighborhood, he’s sought funding from people and organizations who believe in the project. “Investing in People’s Community Market,” he adds, “helps to create an authentically community-based and sustainable solution to providing good, fresh food, jobs, and ownership opportunities to over 9,000 families in West Oakland.”

—Rachel Trachten