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‘Upscale market with community feel’: Norfolk to now have downtown grocery option

NORFOLK, Va. - With tables and an open-air theme, the Chesapeake Bay Market is slated to open May 1, bringing an easily accessible grocery and food market option to people located in the heart of Norfolk.

According to officials with the market, it will be located at 300 East Main Street. They describe it as an "upscale market with a community feel."

Linda Hester, downtown resident and creator of the Facebook group "Wanted Urban Grocer in Downtown Norfolk," said there is a need for the market with 8,000 people now living downtown. From retirees and millennials, they need a place to buy their groceries. 

Farm-to-table private entrepreneurs will reportedly be partnering with an entity on the Eastern Shore that will send fresh food to Norfolk. Farmers of this entity will bring their products to a plant, which will then ship the fresh products to Norfolk constantly.

Hester hopes the location can expand to other vendors from Virginia Beach who also have fresh local products to offer.

Fresh meat, fish produce and prepared food will be available. The current partnership is with the Delmarva Farmer Union, which plans to ship items to the city daily or every other day, according to investors.

Floyd Bagwell, one of the partners looking to develop the space, said there are about 20 jobs will will need to be filled initially, but more positions may be created as they look to expand this space or open another location as well.

Hester said she heard talk that the grocery store they may even partner with Tidewater Community College to get students involved in their vision, hoping to instill leadership and other skills in the students who may work here.

The location is 5000 sq. feet. They hope to open up the space to allow outdoor entities and seating in a rustic setting.

The Chesapeake Bay Market will also offer online ordering, delivery, shopping assistants and valet services.

One of the consultants, Ron Dennis, worked with Farm Fresh when it was located downtown. That store did not survive, but investors say this one will be more up-scale and they hope to offer a more 'community' feel to the people shopping.

Previously, News 3 told you about Hester and her co-Facebook creator, calling themselves the Grocery Girls, running a movement to get this store for the downtown residents. On Friday, Hester told News 3 she was "over the moon" about the announcement.

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