2016 Best Business Recruitment or Expansion Effort
Food Matters Market is a community-oriented grocery store and cafe that was started in Brevard, North Carolina. The market, which supports local producers and sells healthy food grown in the region, was an ideal fit for a vacant building located in downtown Morganton. Through the support of downtown partners, including the Morganton community, the property owner, the City of Morganton, grant agencies and Morganton's Main Street Director, the efforts to recruit the market were successful. The project has transformed 210 Avery Avenue, on the eastern edge of downtown Morganton, from a blighted, mostly vacant property, to a bustling grocery store with community ties.
The project began in late 2014 when a Morganton resident began an online petition on Facebook to recruit Food Matters Market to downtown. Almost overnight, nearly 2,000 people had signed it. Having already had preliminary meetings with the Food Matters Market owner, Morganton's Main Street Director used the petition to pique the owners interest in Morganton as a potential expansion site. Downtown had a perfect location: a vacant property that had previously been home to two grocery stores.
Funding the $1.2 million project included a significant contribution from the property owner, a US Housing and Urban Development Loan and a Main Street Solutions Fund grant. In April of 2016, the community celebrated the grand opening of Food Matters Market - Morganton. The market brought 10 new jobs to downtown. The success of the project shows that downtown Morganton can attract quality businesses, which can, in turn, support industrial recruitment.
The NC Department of Commerce - NC Main Street and Rural Planning congrats Food Matters Market, Avery Avenue Partners, City of Morganton Development and Design Department and City of Morganton Main Street Department on this award. Thanks for your investment in your community.