KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Seeing construction on a new Sun Fresh grocery store is like a dream come true for Shawnese Howard, who has had to deal with a "food desert" in the area.
She lives a few blocks away from the Linwood Shopping Center. Right now, the closest grocery store to her is quite the haul.
“40 Highway. During the rush hour, that’s almost like a 30-minute drive," Howard said.
The new Sun Fresh is just a few blocks away. It’ll be the anchor store of the Linwood Shopping Center.
Kansas City Councilman Jermaine Reed helped with the efforts to bring the grocery store to the area. He remembers the last grocery store to occupy that area more than a decade ago.
"This was our family grocery store," Reed said. "I would come here and stock some groceries here and there to try and make a couple of dollars."
Reed said this area in his district is a food desert and in dire need of fresh produce and healthy food options.
For residents like Howard, the new store will restore a healthy lifestyle and peace of mind. She recently moved back to the area to take care of her grandmother, who like many seniors in the community, she has no means of transportation.
“She can’t move that well, so knowing there’s a store around the corner for her is great," said Howard.
The store is expected to open in June. In addition to fresh produce, the store has also brought several jobs to the area. Many of the construction workers hired to work on the store also live in the neighborhood.