The wooden stand, situated on a strip of grass at 420 N. Market St., sells cold-pressed juices, fruit salads, fruit infused pops and produce.
The founders of the nonprofit, which aims to bring healthy options to central Wilmington, view the Market Street stand as a step in addressing the city’s food desert issue. The stand launched in July and is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. A handful of Wilmington small businesses sell products and produce there.
Like other urban areas, many city residents don’t have easy access to grocery stores or produce stands. Researchers have found that being able to buy fresh food can reduce violence and make people more invested in their community.
Here is an interview from Downtown Wilmington, DE with Wilmington Green Box’s co-founder Jason Aviles.
Q. Where did the idea for the green box stem from?
A. “Born out of a void that we saw in the central Wilmington community of there not being access to healthy goods and produce. While looking for creative ways to fill this void, we wanted to develop a model that was a win, win, win. We wanted to do more…a creative strategy to help other challenged areas, such as youth education and employment. We felt like the local youth needed positive outlets that gave them not only experience but also employed them so they could contribute to their household income. We targeted inner city kids who could really benefit from the program. So the concept is influential in four areas, food access, youth employment, education and purchasing local. We wanted to strengthen the local small business community economy.”
Q. What do you see for the future of the green box?
A. “The future, I see us moving into an indoor location where we can have collaboration with a smoothie bar, café, and co-op style grocery store that can serve bulk health food that continues to serve local and bi-local markets. That is the direction we are going into.”
Q. What is your favorite aspect of the City of Wilmington?
A. “My favorite aspect is the growth that is happening. Wilmington is a growing place. It is in that threshold and it is exciting to be a part of. It is good to know not everything has happened yet. Those are our opportunities to fill those gaps. That is why I chose Wilmington. I wanted to contribute to that.”
Q. What advice would you give to entrepreneur wanting to start a business in downtown Wilmington?
A. “I would say, know what you want and know who wants it. Downtown Wilmington is a market that is used to doing what it is used to doing. You have to know the market and who you want to serve. You have to be consistent and offer high quality products and services. Make sure you know how to market. You are going to have to spend a lot of time marketing. Everyone here is a creature of habit. Introducing new things, you have to have creative ways to put it in front of them.”
Wilmington Green Box was made possible by funding from The Buccini/Pollin Group as well as funding and business development assistance from Main Street Wilmington. Inspired to start a business in Wilmington like Jason? There are a variety of complimentary services Downtown Visions has to get you started. Click here to learn more.
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