back to all stories

back to filtered results

Gem City Market

Employee-owned Market Celebrates Grand Opening in Ohio Food Desert with Help of CDFI Financing

Financial and Social Impact

  • 15,000 square foot facility created, including a minority- and woman-owned coffee shop, retail space, and Federally Qualified Health Center
  • Critically-needed access provided to healthy and fresh affordable food options in a federally-recognized food desert
  • 27 new jobs created


Client: Gem City Market
Client location: Dayton, OH
CDFI: Finance Fund Capital Corporation (FCAP)
CDFI service area: Ohio
CDFI services provided: Financing and technical assistance, with support from the Grow with Google Small Business Fund and Grant Program 

A new cooperative market has made its way to Dayton, OH, with the help of financing from Finance Fund Capital Corporation (FCAP). Located in a food desert near downtown Dayton, Gem City Market features affordable, quality kitchen staples, including well-stocked fresh produce and meat departments, as well as specialty, local, and organic products that will make the store a unique draw. FCAP’s funding supported initial startup costs, including working capital.

Celebrating their grand opening in May 2021, the employee-owned market offers sliding scale memberships based on income, as well as a discounted membership for residents of the most immediate neighboring zip codes. The building’s 15,000 total square feet includes 8,000 square feet of retail space, and the remaining space holds a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) operating 15 hours a week, with other allied health specialties sharing the space. Creating 27 new jobs and quickly surpassing their goal of opening with at least 3,000 members, the market also houses a coffee shop run by a local woman entrepreneur of color.

“Working with a mission-driven lender like FCAP was critical to our ability to meet startup costs at Gem City Market,” said project developer Lela May Klein, who is executive director and co-founder of Co-op Dayton. “Traditional lenders struggle to understand and meet the capital needs of neighborhoods like ours that are building back from systemic divestment, but FCAP’s impact-oriented team and flexible financing was the perfect fit for our community-driven, employee-owned market.”

Looking for a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in your region?

Check out OFN’s CDFI locator.