Mid-Hudson Valley Community Celebrates New Supermarket & New Jobs

You are here:

New York State Healthy Food Financing Initiative Provides Funds to Bring Fresh Food Retail to Underserved Community

(Highland Falls, New York—October 28, 2011)—State and local officials joined the residents of Highland Falls today to celebrate the grand opening of MyTown Marketplace, the town’s new and only full-service grocery store. Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities (HFHC) Fund provided financing to local owners Lisa Berrios and Albert Rodriguez to open the store and serve their hometown, which was left without a daily fresh food outlet when Highland Falls’ only supermarket closed last year. The new store is creating eight new full-time and 19 part-time jobs for the town’s residents.

The $30 million New York HFHC Fund is an innovative financing program created to revitalize upstate and downstate neighborhoods by encouraging investment in healthy food retail for neighborhoods with no supermarkets. The fund is administered by the nonprofit Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) with its partners The Food Trust and The Reinvestment Fund (TRF). The HFHC Fund was seeded with a $10 million commitment from Empire State Development (ESD) and the Department of Agriculture & Markets, which was leveraged with a $20 million investment from The Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group. ESD, Goldman Sachs and the New York State Health Foundation provided additional funds to support technical assistance and program administration.

The HFHC Fund provided funds to Ms. Berrios and Mr. Rodriguez, both experienced in the food industry, to open MyTown Marketplace. “Those who live in the area, including us, have desperately needed the reopening of our only full-service supermarket,” said Lisa Berrios, co-owner of MyTown Marketplace. “The reopening of MyTown Marketplace could only have been accomplished with the support of the New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund. The dollars invested in our store, our community and the health of Highland Falls’ families have made a powerful and positive difference in our lives.”

Located in New York’s Mid-Hudson region, the Village of Highland Falls and the adjacent hamlet of Fort Montgomery, are home to 5,500 New Yorkers. Village of Highland Falls Mayor Joseph D’Onofrio worked with the Town of Highlands and Orange County to provide weekly bus service to a grocery in Cortlandt Manor – 11 miles away – when the village’s supermarket closed last spring. The new store is directly across the street from Highland Falls’ senior center.

“The whole community is very excited to have local residents open a grocery store in our Village of Highland Falls. MyTown Marketplace serves residents who previously traveled 10 to 15 miles for their groceries. This has been a much anticipated opening and a great addition to our community,” said Town of Highlands Supervisor Edward Magryta. “The New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund supported two local entrepreneurs who are now providing a much needed service to their community. It is the type of investment we need to stimulate our local economy and provide good local jobs.”

The New York HFHC Fund is part of a statewide Healthy Food/Healthy Communities Initiative to encourage economic growth, support healthier eating habits and reduce the prevalence of diet-related disease in New York. In addition to MyTown Marketplace, the fund has approved financing for new and expanded healthy food retail outlets in Mount Vernon, Brooklyn and Conklin, as well as a mobile market in Buffalo. LIIF worked closely with its partners The Food Trust and TRF to evaluate and finance MyTown Marketplace through the program. The Food Trust and TRF led the much-lauded Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, the program on which the New York HFHC Fund was modeled.

The new MyTown store has 12,000 square feet of food retail space. The owners renovated the building where the old supermarket was located and expanded the store’s perishable departments. The store is participating in the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets’ “Pride of New York” and “Buy Local” Retail Promotion programs.

Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Darrel J. Aubertine said, “Increasing access to good, healthy food in all of our communities is a commitment of Governor Cuomo’s Administration. The opening of the MyTown Marketplace will provide that access and economic opportunity in the community. The market will also provide another outlet for products from local farmers to strengthen our agricultural community.”

“The New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities (HFHC) Fund is increasing access to healthy food in the neighborhoods that need it most, while spurring growth that leads to job creation and prosperous communities across New York State,” said Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Kenneth Adams. “Improving our state’s business climate includes improving the quality of life and well-being of all New Yorkers. ESD is proud to be a part of this revitalization effort and applauds all our partners for their role in ensuring MyTown Marketplace opened its doors in Highland Falls.”

Nancy O. Andrews, President & CEO of the Low Income Investment Fund, said, “MyTown Marketplace will increase the availability of healthy food and create economic opportunities for the people of Highland Falls. The Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) is pleased that our work through the New York Healthy Food & Healthy Communities Fund has immediate benefits for local families, youth and senior citizens and is an investment in the future well-being of the town and its residents.”

“The opening of MyTown Marketplace is an important step toward ensuring that all New York families have access to healthy, affordable food,” said The Food Trust Executive Director Yael Lehmann. “The Food Trust is proud to be a part of bringing fresh food to Highland Falls families through the HFHC.”

“Ensuring access to affordable, nutritious foods is essential to keeping New Yorkers healthy, reducing obesity, and preventing the onset of illnesses like diabetes,” said James R. Knickman, President & CEO of the New York State Health Foundation. “We’re so pleased to support this partnership and to see the tangible impact the HFHC is having in the Highland Falls community.”

For more information about the New York HFHC Fund or to apply, please visit LIIF’s website, www.liifund.org/nyhealthyfood. To contact the fund administrator, email nyhealthyfood@liifund.org or call (212) 509-5509 ext. 16.

About Empire State Development Corp.
Empire State Development is New York’s chief economic development agency and administrator of the statewide business resource portal Business First (www.NYfirst.NY.gov). The mission of Empire State Development is to promote business investment and growth that leads to job creation and prosperous communities across New York State. ESD also oversees the marketing of “I LOVE NY,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Empire State Development, visit www.esd.ny.gov.

About New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets
The New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets mission is to foster a competitive food and agriculture industry that benefits producers and consumers alike. Agriculture makes up one-quarter of the State’s land area and contributes immensely to the quality of life in New York State by generating economic activity and producing wholesome products to nourish our families. We work diligently to promote a viable agricultural industry, foster agricultural environmental stewardship, and safeguard our food supply.

About the Low Income Investment Fund
The Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) invests capital to support healthy families and communities. Since 1984, LIIF has served 970,000 people by providing over $990 million in financing and technical assistance. Over its history, LIIF has supported efforts to create and preserve: 56,000 units of affordable housing; 180,000 child care spaces; 55,000 spaces in schools; and 3.2 million square feet of community facilities and commercial space. LIIF’s work has generated $19 billion in family income and societal benefits. LIIF has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, D.C. For more information about LIIF, visit www.liifund.org.

About The Food Trust
The Food Trust, a nonprofit founded in 1992, works to ensure that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious food. Working with neighborhoods, schools, grocers, farmers and policymakers, The Food Trust has developed a comprehensive approach that combines nutrition education and great availability of affordable, healthy food. For more information, visit thefoodtrust.org.

About TRF
TRF is a national leader in rebuilding America’s distressed towns and cities, through the innovative use of capital and information. TRF has invested over $1 billion in Mid-Atlantic communities since 1985. A CDFI, TRF finances housing, community facilities, food access, commercial real estate and energy efficiency projects. It also provides public policy expertise by helping clients create actionable solutions and by sharing data and analysis via www.PolicyMap.com. To date, TRF has financed over $100 million in support of 93 healthy food access projects. To learn more about TRF, visit www.trfund.com.

About the Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. (NYSE: GS) is a leading global investment banking, securities and investment management firm that provides a wide range of financial services to a substantial and diversified client base that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments and high-net-worth individuals. Founded in 1869, the firm is headquartered in New York and maintains offices in London, Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hong Kong and other major financial centers around the world.

Goldman Sachs established the Urban Investment Group (UIG) in 2001 to deploy the firm’s capital by making investments and loans through comprehensive community development platforms that benefit underserved communities in the United States. UIG has committed more than $1.35 billion, facilitating the creation and preservation of approximately 9,400 housing units – 75% of which are affordable to low, moderate and middle-income families – as well as over 730,000 sq. ft. of community facility space and approximately 1,000,000 sq. ft. of commercial and retail space. To learn more about UIG, visit www.gs.com/uig.

About the New York State Health Foundation
The New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth) is a private Foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers. NYSHealth has a three-part mission: expanding health insurance coverage, increasing access to high-quality health care services, and improving public and community health by educating New Yorkers about health issues and empowering communities to address them. NYSHealth was established with charitable funds from the privatization of Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.


Media Contacts
Samantha Hojo
Low Income Investment Fund
212-509-5509 x17, shojo@liifund.org

Jola Szubielski
Empire State Development
(800) 260-7313, jszubielski@empire.state.ny.us

Michael Moran
Department of Agriculture & Markets
518-457-3136, Michael.moran@agriculture.ny.gov