CLEVELAND — While the wind whistles past the closed Dave's Market on Payne Avenue, a handful of would-be customers are finding out the market has closed for good.
"I just go there for lunch," said Curtis Prince after finding out the market was closed. "There aren't a lot of stores out here like Dave's around here."
Would-be customers walk up to the Dave's Market door before realizing the market had closed for good on Sunday.
A few blocks away, Aaron Saltzman, his brother, Dave, their family and a small army of workers are putting the finishing touches on the market that will replace the Payne Avenue location. Dave and Aaron's great-grandfather opened the Payne Avenue location in the 1930s.
"We wanted to be geographically in a location where we could best service the various neighborhoods across the east side of Cleveland in one home," said Saltzman.
Workers assemble shelves in the new Dave's Market while other employees stock shelves ahead of Wednesday's opening.
He says the old store, which opened about 90 years ago, just couldn't keep up with the services the family wanted to provide. The new store has more amenities, but is too far away for most people near Payne Avenue to walk to
"You got old people down here that don't have a car," said Prince. "They're normally walking to Dave's."
The sign on the door tells customers at the Payne Avenue Dave's Market that the store is closed.
Shuttles to the Store
Saltzman says the Dave's Market ownership is committed to remaining a hub of the community, even if they have to drive customers to the new store themselves.
"From the beginning, it was our commitment to provide a path forward for a way to help them," said Saltman. "That ultimately led to a complementary, free of charge, shuttle service that we're going to be offering."
A sign inside Dave's Market traces the company's ownership back to Aaron and Dave's Great-Great-Grandfather, Alex.
The shuttle starts on Saturday, March 2, and will give shoppers roughly an hour to shop before shuttling them back to where they were picked up from. Saltzman says the plan is to run it for the foreseeable future.
Shuttles will run from:
Asia Evergreen Apartments - 3843 Payne Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio
- Saturdays at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
- Wednesdays at 8 a.m. and 10 a.m.
Previous Dave's Market - 3301 Payne Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio
- Saturdays at 1:20 p.m. and 3:20 p.m.
- Wednesdays at 8:20 a.m. and 10:20 a.m.
Arbor Park Place Shopping Center, Cleveland, Ohio
- Saturdays at 2:20 p.m. and 4:20 p.m.
- Wednesdays at 9:20 a.m. and 11:20 p.m.
Fighting Food Deserts
Prince says he went to Dave's Market on Payne Avenue twice a week for their ready-made lunches and dinners.
"You just can't go into the store and grab some chicken, macaroni and cheese, and a salad," said Prince.
Workers install the glass around the Customer Service desk in Dave's Market.
Dave's Market was the place where he could get those things.
The new store is big enough to meet those needs and many more. The new location was built from the ground up, has a bank, pharmacy, liquor store and eatery.
Aisles are named after main streets in downtown Cleveland.
"All those little reasons to come in and say, "I'm going to come here this day for this reason, or that day for this reason,' those are the things we feel are essential to give people the best experience," said Saltzman.
But for many people, Dave's is more than just an experience. It's a necessity.
Food stands wait for product to display before Wednesday's opening.
The Cuyahoga County Board of Health created the map below. Everything in orange shows where people are living in poverty more than a half mile from a grocery store.
Courtesy: Cuyahoga County Board of Health.
On top of shuttles to the new location, bringing in residents from a larger area even if they don't have a car, the new location also has large meeting spaces that will host healthy cooking classes that are scheduled through May.
"Hopefully, through the things we do and doing these things at the level we believe we can, we're there for them," said Saltzman.
RELATED: New grocery store with drive-thru pharmacy and eatery opening in Cleveland's Midtown neighborhood
This story is part of A Better Land, an ongoing series that investigates Northeast Ohio's deep-seated systemic problems. Additionally, it puts a spotlight on the community heroes fighting for positive change in Cleveland and throughout the region. If you have an idea for A Better Land story, tell us here.