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Full-service micro grocery store opening at Tulsa Dream Center

Grocery box
Posted at 5:05 PM, Jun 17, 2024

TULSA, Okla. — A new grocery store concept is heading to the Tulsa Dream Center.

Organizers say it’ll bring fresh produce within walking distance to hundreds of people who live nearby. The goal is to provide equal access to healthy food.

“I live in this neighborhood,” said Syreeta Burrell. “This is my community. I love this neighborhood.”

Tucked inside the Tulsa Dream Center, you’ll find Syreeta Burrell. Surrounded by students, she’s worked at the non-profit for the last 5 years. 7 years ago, though, she came to the Tulsa Dream Center looking for help.

“I was in need of groceries, and I came on a Tuesday with a friend not knowing it was a grocery and chapel day and so from that day on I just kept coming back,” said Burrell.

Groceries were once again top of mind for Burrell at the groundbreaking of The Grocery Box. It’s a brand new full-service micro-grocery store being built outside the Tulsa Dream Center.

“This just means so much to me to not have to go so far out to get the things we deserve to have in our area,” said Burrell.

Living in the north Tulsa community, Burrell says she can’t wait until the walkable store opens its doors. Tulsa Dream Center Executive Director Tim Newton agrees.

“These individuals and families right here can walk across the street and be able to go to the grocery store,” said Tim Newton. “It’s amazing.”

The Grocery Box has been years in the making.

“We didn’t want to just open a store,” said Katie Plohocky. “We wanted to provide a solution that was going to be systematic change.”

RG Foods Executive Director Katie Plohocky says fresh fruits and veggies are grown here at the Tulsa Farm Lab just up the street. They’ve sold this produce in their mobile grocery store for about a decade, but this will be their first permanent location.

“We really want to create economic opportunities for others to own their own community stores, not us,” said Plohocky. “Our role would then be to access the wholesale distribution system to help supply their inventory.”

Newton says that fresh food leads to the bigger picture of physical health in the community he serves.

“The life expectancy of someone who lives on this side of I-244 is 10 years shorter, and that shouldn’t be the case,” said Newton. “We have to do something about it, and this is one of the ways we do something about it.”

They plan to have the store open by early fall in about 3 months.


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