Inside the new Grocery Outlet on Ridge Avenue, Sharswood’s first supermarket in 50 years

There are shelves and shelves of fresh fruit and vegetables, something that had been lacking in the North Philly neighborhood.

Community members thronged to Sharswood's new Grocery Outlet on opening day

Community members thronged to Sharswood's new Grocery Outlet on opening day

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn
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With the grand opening of Grocery Outlet on Ridge Avenue this week, Sharswood has a supermarket for the first time since the 1960s.

The lower North Philly neighborhood, which blossomed as a center for jazz in the early half of the 19th century, then watched its fortunes fall, is undergoing a massive planned revitalization. Led by the Philadelphia Housing Authority in partnership with community-minded development firms Mosaic and Shift Capital, it started in 2016 with the demolition of two old-school public housing high-rises.

Hundreds of new residential units have been built to replace them, and there are more in planning, both subsidized and market rate, along with additional retail including a bank, a deli, and a BBQ restaurant, according to PHA.

The new supermarket is the linchpin of the development, the anchor tenant.


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It’s operated by a North Philadelphia native, Donta Rose. He was working as a store designer for Grocery Outlet, he told The Inquirer, when he saw an outpost would be opening in the neighborhood where he grew up, and decided it was the perfect opportunity. He got a loan, pulled his family together for support, and launched into a new step in his career.

With shelves and shelves of fruits and vegetables and other fresh ingredients, the Grocery Outlet fills a void in Sharswood. Previously, the closest big supermarkets were around a mile away — and often expensive, like the Fairmount Whole Foods. Residents said they took public transit to do their shopping or relied on corner stores, which often lack produce and other healthy options.

At about 17,600 square feet, the new market is about the same size as the Center City Trader Joe’s. The California-based Grocery Outlet chain, which already has three other Philadelphia locations, calls itself an “an extreme-value retailer.”

It offers name brands at ultra-low prices, possible because most products are acquired by corporate shoppers in bulk at overstock sales. That means the deals and offerings on shelves change often. But the general philosophy and atmosphere remain, exemplified by the quips and quotes and cheerful sayings painted around the store: “More kale for less cabbage,” “We keep our deals fresh, so don’t be a stranger.”

Grocery Outlet Sharswood is located at 2077 Ridge Ave. (at 21st Street). It’s open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. Scroll through the pics below for a preview of what you’ll find inside.

Operator Donta Rose, a North Philly native who'd been a Grocery Outlet store designer and moved back to open this outlet, cuts the ribbon to launch the Sharswood location

Operator Donta Rose, a North Philly native who'd been a Grocery Outlet store designer and moved back to open this outlet, cuts the ribbon to launch the Sharswood location

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Rows of produce and other fresh food items take up a large portion of the space

Rows of produce and other fresh food items take up a large portion of the space

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn
The produce section offers an acronym to describe its products: NOSH, for 'Natural, Organic, Specialty, and Healthy'

The produce section offers an acronym to describe its products: NOSH, for 'Natural, Organic, Specialty, and Healthy'

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn
At Grocery Outlet, you'll find name brands, but often only in one size

At Grocery Outlet, you'll find name brands, but often only in one size

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The extreme-value grocery retailer calls its prices 'wow deals'

The extreme-value grocery retailer calls its prices 'wow deals'

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Quips and sayings are painted throughout the supermarket

Quips and sayings are painted throughout the supermarket

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Rows of produce and other fresh food items took up a large portion of the space.

Rows of produce and other fresh food items took up a large portion of the space.

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The deli section offers an extensive selection of pre-packaged meats and cheeses

The deli section offers an extensive selection of pre-packaged meats and cheeses

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The dairy section offers 'More cheese for less cheddar' and encourages customers to 'Slice it right, pile it high'

The dairy section offers 'More cheese for less cheddar' and encourages customers to 'Slice it right, pile it high'

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The frozen food aisle is packed with microwavable meals for both meat eaters and vegetarians

The frozen food aisle is packed with microwavable meals for both meat eaters and vegetarians

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Rows of produce and other fresh food items take up a large portion of the space

Rows of produce and other fresh food items take up a large portion of the space

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn
The store celebrates the local community throughout

The store celebrates the local community throughout

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn
Customers have dozens of alternative milk options to choose from alongside traditional dairy products

Customers have dozens of alternative milk options to choose from alongside traditional dairy products

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The store has everything from home goods to specialty food items, stocked in wide aisles

The store has everything from home goods to specialty food items, stocked in wide aisles

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn
The seasonal aisle offers tools for outdoor grilling and fun kids toys like a mermaid tail and mask

The seasonal aisle offers tools for outdoor grilling and fun kids toys like a mermaid tail and mask

Erin Blewett for Billy Penn
Products are delivered four times a week, but because they depend on overstock supply, brands and deals change often

Products are delivered four times a week, but because they depend on overstock supply, brands and deals change often

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The aisles are wide enough for wo shopping carts to pass unimpeded

The aisles are wide enough for wo shopping carts to pass unimpeded

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Grocery Outlet's traveling 'Bliss Bus' offers free ice cream, coffee, and coupons when it stops by a location

Grocery Outlet's traveling 'Bliss Bus' offers free ice cream, coffee, and coupons when it stops by a location

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Pa. Rep. Malcom Kenyatta, who grew up and lives in North Philadelphia, was all smiles at the supermarket's grand opening

Pa. Rep. Malcom Kenyatta, who grew up and lives in North Philadelphia, was all smiles at the supermarket's grand opening

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