Shop Smart Supermarket brings convenience back to city

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch

York City residents on the west end will no longer have to hop in the car to get fresh meats, fruits and vegetables, thanks to Shop Smart Supermarket.

York City local Jacinto Marquez opened the roughly 1,500-square-foot supermarket to the public Friday, June 8. 

Residents who have long yearned for convenient access to fresh food have taken notice.

Tomatillos and other fresh produce at Shop Smart Supermarket at 671 West Market St. in York City, Thursday, June 14, 2018. Dawn J. Sagert photo

"There hasn't been anywhere to get fresh food," said Valerie Darden, of York City. "It's really convenient because there's nothing here but Turkey Hill. Now we finally have some options." 

Located at 671 W. Market St., the supermarket boasts fresh produce and meats, products not readily available in the area since the closing of Giant in West York in 2017.

More:Giant to close West Market Street location

A lack of access to fresh produce and meats has been an issue for years, said Dale Green, a clinical dietitian for WellSpan Health.

"I've been working here for 10 years, and one of the biggest challenges in particular is getting fresh produce," she said. "The fact that supermarkets have moved out of the area certainly isn't helpful."

Without access to fresh meats and produce, she said, residents often opt for more processed foods. As a result, those individuals are at greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and obesity.

City spokesman Philip Given said the migration of supermarkets from downtown began in the late 20th century.

"In the '80s and '90s, we saw corner stores go away in favor of larger supermarkets with big parking lots," he said. "They want to build new and build big, which is something York City doesn't have a lot of room for."

However, with the addition of a new supermarket, the impact is "greater than anyone would have ever thought."

"Do you have lighter fluid," asked Tamara Mitchell, of York City, as she leaned in the doorway at the front of the store. Cashier Alvaro Peralta, right, replied, "yes," and then rung up Mitchell's purchase a few moments later at the Shop Smart Supermarket in York City, Thursday, June 14, 2018. "It's a great location," added Mitchell, who lives nearby. Dawn J. Sagert photo

"Particularly for the residents on the west side, there's been a serious deficit of fresh food," he said. "For (the supermarket) to come in the neighborhood and offer convenient hours, a convenient location, a butcher and fresh fruits and vegetables is a great thing."

Marquez couldn't be reached for comment.

Smart Shop Supermarket is the first supermarket to serve the west side of the city since Giant closed, giving residents other options besides C-Town Supermarkets on Duke Street, waiting for limited hours at Penn Market and Central Market or driving to groceries several miles away.

However, customers can expect more than just fresh produce and meats.

Although small, the supermarket compensates for the lack of space with high stacks of products, all strategically and tightly packed onto the shelves.

It stocks a large variety of canned goods, snacks and other miscellaneous items — including baby formula — behind the counter.

A large quantity of the products are Hispanic brands, but the store also includes popular American necessities for snacking, such as Campbell's canned soups, chips and a variety of cereals.

Additionally, a small corner of the supermarket offers a variety of freshly made American and Hispanic food to buy on the way out.

The station sells french fries and chicken wings, but it also adds Hispanic flare for the city's strong Latino population, which comprises 31 percent of the city's population, according to U.S. Census Bureau statistics.