After seven years in concept and nearly a year in construction, it’s finally here!
The new Fare & Square grocery store in Chester, Pa., has opened to serve the residents of this city without a supermarket for nearly 12 years. Once a center of shipbuilding, Chester lost industry and half its population after World War II. Today, Chester’s population numbers around 33,000 people, but it was nearly impossible to buy a head of lettuce or anything else fresh until Fare & Square opened for business. Chester had become a food desert—one of the 35 food deserts in the Delaware Valley, according to the USDA.
About 200 people gathered for the ribbon cutting held Sept. 28, followed by lines of customers waiting to shop the new 13,000-sq.-ft. store. Once inside, they immediately could see generous displays of produce arrayed on tilt-style tables, while pendant lighting called attention to freshness and quality. But there was more: a wide variety of additional fruits and vegetables lining the walls was both inspiring and appetizing—as well as staples and additional specialty departments.
The new store represents Chester’s first grocery store in more than a decade and gives residents of Chester easy access to a full range of fresh and national brand foods that have not been available since its last full-scale grocer closed in 2001.
Philabundance, a hunger-relief organization located in the Delaware Valley behind the non-profit store, commissioned New York based branding and design firm CBX to handle the design.
Now, what’s interesting about that is not just the fact that CBX has years of experience in the supermarket and c-store industry, but that Philabundance wanted to create an environment that would reflect the hopeful and respectful nature of its goal to create a store that could look at home in any community. Translated that means no cut cartons or obvious cutting corners on the look and feel. And, while it’s no Dean & Deluca, the store’s fixtures, lighting, flooring and décor package would be at home in for-profit supermarkets. Consistent with for-profit grocery stores, Fare & Square specialty departments include not only produce but also dairy, deli, meat and seafood.
f&s 2.JPGThe colorful Fare & Square logo—a simple drawing of a purple carrot with green tops attached and the words “Fare & Square” set in a rounded-corner square—designed by Philabundance and LevLane Advertising—provided CBX inspiration for the overall palette of bright green and shades of saturated purple, with splashes of yellow and orange. Modern elements, such as light-colored woods and stainless steel trim, round out the colors and materials. Lending a local connection is the one-of-kind murals designed and executed by area artists.
In the end, CBX was asked to make Fare & Square an energizing and inspiring, but comfortable, place to shop and congregate. Philabundance hopes to replicate this model in other communities in the Delaware Valley region.
Here’s a big salute to the new Chester store and its residents. While your juices are flowing, we’d love to read your thoughts. Leave any taste in the comments section.