When local residents showed up to shop at the Woodland Park Save-A-Lot grocery store at 873 Dennison Ave SW last Thursday, a note on the door informed them the store was closing permanently the following day. We’ve got the scoop.
Fewer food outlets in West Birmingham
It’s well documented that several Birmingham neighborhoods are in what is known as a food desert. With the closing of Save-A-Lot last week, this is a major issue throughout the Magic City. We reached out to City Councilor Crystal Smitherman, who has worked hard on several initiatives and wants to provide food options for her constituents.
“Building equity in our community, especially as it relates to food insecurity, must start with ensuring healthy, affordable food options for residents that live in one of Birmingham’s designated food deserts.
In so many communities across Birmingham, the only food retailers available are ‘Dollar Stores’ which only offer highly-processed foods. The proliferation of these stores is a major factor in preventing larger grocery stores from wanting to locate to these areas. They also undercut grocery stores that are currently operating here.”Crystal Smitherman, Birmingham City Council
New initiatives for the Birmingham food market
City Councilor Smitherman described several new strategies that she and her fellow councilors have been working on to address this issue.
“In 2020, I joined my colleagues in passing legislation to prevent more of these stores from opening in underserved communities.
For the second year in a row, I partnered with local farmers and vendors to for monthly farmer’s markets across District 6 in Birmingham. Not only was this an opportunity for residents to access fresh produce, but it also allowed them to build relationships with local farmers.
While I’m not going to comment on this current situation I want to assure our residents that the City Council is taking this issue very seriously and we will continue working with the Mayor and his team to find ways recruit and retain more grocery stores in these historically underserved communities.”Crystal Smitherman, Birmingham City Council
Other Nearby Options for Save-A-Lot regulars
Save-A-Lot encourages its customers to shop at the nearby location at 161 Bessemer Super Highway in Midfield. Additionally, the City of Birmingham recently helped to make it possible for a new Food Giant grocery store to open at the 2200 block at Five Points West across from Birmingham CrossPlex.
Earlier this year, The new Birmingham fresh food initiative Bush Hills Connections Complex brought a community garden, urban farm, farm stand, and more to that neighborhood. Lastly, a visit to Jones Valley Teaching Farm could provide the means for FREE farm-to-table fruits and veggies, lessons on growing and cooking your own produce, volunteer options, and even internship opportunities!
Birmingham Xpress as a means to get to the store
Some concerns have been voiced that people in the area near Save-A-Lot may not have reliable transportation to buy groceries. The new Birmingham Xpress is here to help! In July, Birmingham City Council approved a $300,000 bridge fund to cover fare costs. Take advantage of the free fare while you can!
Below is a map of the Save-A-Lot location on Dennison Avenue SW.