Cherry Hill's long wait for a supermarket is over, and residents of the isolated Baltimore community south of the Hanover Street bridge couldn't be happier.
The neighborhood's 11,000 residents have been without a full-service grocery since October 2000, when the Super Pride supermarket closed. For months, residents have taken buses, the light rail, taxis and hacks out of the neighborhood to buy the fresh produce, baked goods and meats the local corner stores did not stock.
Catholic Charities, which owns the shopping center where the market is located, and city officials spent months trying to find a grocer for Cherry Hill. The market space's relatively small size - 15,342 square feet - made it hard to attract big companies such as Giant and Super Fresh.
In August 2001, officials began negotiations with Integrity Foods LLC, an independent company founded by Al Moore and Jesse Singh, students from Loyola College's master of business administration program.
This spring, the Board of Estimates approved a $50,000 grant for the grocer, named Hilltop Market. In all, $750,000 in loans and grants from public and private agencies have been lined up. Integrity Foods contributed $50,000.
Officials will hold a grand opening ceremony at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the market in the 600 block of Cherry Hill Road.