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Medical Device Maker to build Grocery Store in Arlington Woods

Arlington Woods, an Indianapolis neighborhood dominated by African-Americans, has seen many big-box grocery stores close in recent years. There are no full-size grocery stores within a 4-mile radius, making the city a food desert. Cook Medical, a medical device maker, is now locating a new plant in the underserved area, and the company is also building a new supermarket right next to it. Coleman and other people in the area are ecstatic.

Terry Coleman, living in Arlington Woods for more than 34 years, said, “When you need a gallon of milk you’ve got to travel five miles. We only about maybe five minutes from there. So it’s really going to enhance the area. That store is going to be a part of our community.” Based in Bloomington, Indiana, the multibillion-dollar family-owned manufacturer will invest approximately $2.5 million to create Indy Fresh Market, a new 15,000-square-foot grocery store. They will get funding and inventory provided by local organizations such as IMPACT Central Indiana, a multi-member limited liability corporation.

COOK Medical’s president, Pete Yonkman, says having a grocery store was never part of the business plan, but they heard from so many people that food access was an issue. COOK Medical will hand over the store’s ownership and operationto Michael McFarland and Marckus Williams, two young local entrepreneurs who live in the area, once construction is completed.

Both men are in their 30s and have known each other since childhood. They intend to run the store on a rent-to-own basis, to own it outright in a few years. They bring with them firsthand knowledge of the problems that residents face regularly. They also own and operate Wall Street Grocery, a small convenience store in a nearby strip mall.

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