Chester is getting a grocery store – finally

Congressman Bob Brady and other elected officials will be in Chester tomorrow to announce the site acquisition for a "hybrid" grocery store to be run by Philabundance, the nonprofit that supplies free food to people in need. And a grocery store is exactly what Chester needs, with the last supermarket having rolled out of the impoverished Delaware County city in 2001.

“We’re looking at both selling food and giving it away free to people who need it," said George MatysikPhilabundance's deputy director of policy and planning.

The nonprofit has so far rounded up $2.2 million for the $4.5 million project. That includes state and federal funding and $800,000 from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. You can donate here. A construction date hasn't been set. The store will be located at 9th and Booth streets.

For the past decade, Chester residents have had to shop outside the city for groceries or settle for corner stores where the selection is limited and prices are high. There's a food co-op on Avenue of the States, but it's membership-based.

Shoplifting was such a problem at West End Food Center, the city's last supermarket, that the owner hired off-duty cops for security and posted a sign that read: "Free Ride in a Police Car If You Shoplift from This Store." Subsequent deals to bring a full-service grocery to the city have fallen through.

The Philabundance store should be a good step to getting Chester back on track. The next step? Stop shooting each other.