First full-service grocery store in 40 years set to open in west Oakland

Saturday, June 1, 2019

OAKLAND (KGO) -- For the first time in four decades, thousands of residents in west Oakland will be able to go to the grocery store without leaving town.

A full-service market is set to open its doors to the public on Saturday, something even the founder wasn't sure he would ever see happen.

"I started working on this in 2012. No one took me seriously at that time."

But you've got to take Brahm Ahmadi and his Community Foods Market seriously now.

On Friday, workers were still stocking the shelves and making sure everything is right.

"Our focus here is really on fresh foods, perishable foods. It's what we've heard from the neighborhood is the biggest gap in what's available" Ahmadi says.

The last full service grocery serving the McClymonds, Hoover-Foster and Clawson neighborhoods pulled out in the 1970's, leaving behind a food desert for about 9,000 residents.

When Ahmadi began pursuing his idea, step one was simple: come up with millions of dollars to acquire land, construct a new building and staff it.

Thirteen million dollars came from grants.

"We raised $2.2 millions from average people" Ahmadi says.

Those people bought stock in the store, like Jumoke Hinton of west Oakland who says it will be more than just a market.

"I'm really excited for things like community members coming in, like being able to do music, or us being able to test someone's homemade jam," she said.

Crystal Melancon and her boyfriend Malik Jones can't wait.

"She said they're going to serve organic food and all kinds of stuff, and I'm having a baby, so it's good for me," Melancon said.

"Before this, we would have to drive to another city -- San Leandro or Emeryville," Jones said.

Rahm says a special deal with vendors will allow them to match or even beat the prices of other local markets.