Sarah Dixon Innovation Center (4800 Block Grocery Co-op)

A Project of P.O.O.R.L.A.W. and GH-CARED

At one time part of the main commercial strip of Hazelwood, most of the 4800 block of Second Avenue is currently vacant and owned by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). In 2019, the URA invited proposals to redevelop the block. Proposals to build housing with little to no commercial space failed to address the needs of our community, and prompted the creation of the GH-CARED coalition. Greater Hazelwood has not had a full-service grocery in decades, our residents travel to Greenfield, Homestead, or the South Side to shop. The 2019 comprehensive community plan, adopted in partnership with Pittsburgh, found that residents “overwhelmingly desire a neighborhood grocery store.” The GH-CARED coalition of community organizations, businesses, churches, and residents, POORLAW in cooperation with Praise Temple Deliverance Church, is seeking to develop a two-story building on the 4800 block of Second Avenue, and the building’s first floor would be a 20,000-square-foot grocery store. Plans for the second floor will be informed by further community input. Possibilities include a credit union, job training center, and a daycare, to be run as community- or employee-owned cooperatives.

Learn more about Sarah Dixon »


The Space: 4800 Block of Second Avenue in Hazelwood

  • South side of the Second Ave. 4800 block – between Hazelwood Ave and Flowers Ave.
  • Two-story commercial building with underground parking lot
  • 40,000 sq. ft. of commercial space
  • Ground floor: Full-service grocery store on the ground floor
  • Upper floor: Small businesses that meet the immediate needs of Greater Hazelwood
Architectural Rendering of the Sarah Dixon Innovation Center
Architectural Rendering of the Sarah Dixon Innovation Center

Design and Construction Partners

The Cooperative

The property and businesses housed at the Sarah Dixon Innovation Center will operate as employee-owned organizations – owned by the Greater Hazelwood community, the employees of the businesses, and their customers.

Why a cooperative model?

  • Better pay for workers – from 15%–70% higher than typical organizations
  • More control over working conditions
  • Greatly reduced worker turnover (40%–60% reductions, typically)
  • Dollars spent directly benefit the community
  • Community resilience and pride in ownership

The Grocery Store

Family Tree Food Market – A Community-Driven Approach to Food and Wellness

Family Tree Food Market is more than just a grocery store. Its mission is to reimagine how the food industry meets the needs of communities like Greater Hazelwood. In order to support healthy neighborhoods and families, Family Tree looks to reduce nutrition-related chronic diseases by offering affordable, high-quality food as well as health and wellness programs and services – all close to home. As part of its commitment to the Sarah Dixon Innovation Center, Family Tree will:

  • Work with the community employee-owned community cooperative to stablish the grocery store operating model
  • Jointly manage operations for the first two-to-three years as part of a franchise agreement
  • Provide guidance, training, and operational management expertise
  • Prepare employees and managers to successfully take the reins and operate the store going forward

Market Viability

The Study

In order to establish the market viability of a grocery store in the Hazelwood Business District, Oak Moss Consulting & Associates conducted a market viability study. The study contains forward-looking information, including demographics, new residential projects, and trends in the market for groceries and household goods.

The results are clear – a coop grocery store in Greater Hazelwood is a good investment:

  • Population growth, including new housing development projects on Second Ave. and the Hazelwood Green, will significantly increase demand and market size
  • Strategic location on commuter route SR885/Second Avenue offers a unique advantage
  • Benchmark revenues projected within 2–3 years, that will continue to grow over 5–10 years

Read the full market viability study.

Press Coverage

Grassroots group clears 1st hurdle toward hoped-for Hazelwood grocery store
November 18, 2021 by Rich Lord
Courier Newsroom

It’s decision time on Pittsburgh’s ‘next frontier’ for redevelopment
November 1, 2021 by Rich Lord
Courier Newsroom

After decades without a grocery store, Hazelwood residents want to build it themselves
October 5, 2021 by Margaret J. Krauss
90.5 WESA

Development Project Team

Executive Director and Fiscal Agent
Saundra Cole-McKamey, Founder and CEO, P.O.O.R.L.A.W.

Senior Development Consultant
Pastor Lutual Love, of Praise Temple Deliverance Church and Co-Founder of GH-CARED

Developmental Advisor
Sonya Tilghman, Executive Director, Hazelwood Initiative

Project Manager
Joe Massaro III, President and CEO, Massaro Construction Group

Manager of Business Outreach and Development
Bill Bailey, Founder and President, D. Well & Associates LLC

Marketing and Communications Consultant
Krish Pandya, Managing Partner, Oak Moss Consulting

Project Development and Community Outreach
Unity in the Community
Saundra Cole, President, and Lutual M. Love, Sr., Pastor, Praise Temple Deliverance Church

Architect and Design Team
Scott Gerke, AIA, Store Masters
Chad Ott, Co Owner, Store Masters

Grocery Store Development Partner 
Daniel Craddock, Co Founder/Co Owner, Family Tree Market
Khalid Morris, Co Founder/Co Owner, Family Tree Market

Cooperative Consultants
Ron Gaydos, Cooperative Development Consultant, Keystone Development Center
Kevin McPhillips, Executive Director & CEO, Pennsylvania Center for Employee Ownership

Financial Consultants 
Pete Byford, Senior Vice President, Advantage Capital
Sarah Baker, VP Relationship Manager, Member of the PNC  Financial Services Group

City Government
Barbara Warwick, Councilwoman, City of Pittsburgh
Ose Akinolatin, Planning Manager, Department of City Planning
Rebecca Davidson-Wagner, Director of CDFI Investments, CDFI Investments Urban Redevelopment Authority
Gordon Hall, Project Manager, Department of Project and Asset Management Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh

Grocery Store Consultants 
Melinda Gaus, Community Relations, Giant Eagle
Graham Watkins, Executive Vice President, Chief Technology and Supply Chain Officer Giant Eagle

Business Consultants 
Juan Lacey, President, Farms Close By
Clearview Credit Union, Credit Union Developer

Community Advisory Board

Lyneel Brimage, Resident
Sarah Able-Love, Resident
Chelsea Pitzarella, Resident
Zoie Pitzarella, Resident
Joey Hepner, Resident
Emily Higgs, Resident
Stacie Kuc, Resident
Keith Caldwell, University of Pittsburgh
Nikki Martin, Street Plans
Joy Dore, Resident
Carlos Thomas, Just Say Chef
Dasawn Gray, Resident
Sam Applefield, Food Policy Council
Russell Simms, COTRAIC
Chris Wilson, Resident
Ose Akinlotan, City Planning
Randall Taylor, Penn Plaza Support and Action Coalition
James Cole, Resident
Terri Shields, Resident
Edith Abeyta, Resident
Homer Craig, Resident
Ursula Craig, Resident
Joyce Dixon, Resident
Ruth Allen, Resident
Theresa White, Resident
Howard Jackson, Resident
Michael Wilson, Resident
Dawn Blair, POORLAW Board Member
Robin Cunningham, POORLAW Board Member
Denise-Graham Shealey, POORLAW Board Member
Chenille Thomas, POORLAW Board Member
Runnell Jones, Resident
Rev Murray, Resident
Melvina Strover, Resident
Dianne Shenk, Resident & Business Owner
Tiffany Taulton, Resident
Gavin White, Resident
Grace M. Edwards, Resident