Innovative supermarket looks to nourish neighborhood from ‘inside out’

North Market puts an innovative spin on supermarket retailing.

Built with the community, for the community, North Market combines a full-service, approximate 16,000-sq.-ft. grocery store with a community space as well as a clinic space for health and wellness services — all under one roof. The project was designed by Minneapolis-based Knock, in partnership with LSE Architects, which transformed a vacant building into a vibrant and colorful space.

North Market is owned and operated by Minneapolis-based non-profit organization Pillsbury United Communities as an independent, self-sustaining social enterprise. It is located in the Webber Park neighborhood of north Minneapolis, a low-income area that has been federally designated as a food desert. Prior to North Market’s opening, the community was served by 36 corner-style convenience store and only one supermarket.

North Market aims to serve the local community from the inside out. With an emphasis on nutrition and healthy eating, it is a hub for community health, offering regular wellness events and education.

Approximately half of the grocery stock in North Market is supplied by Supervalu, with the remaining coming from local produce, meat and dairy suppliers. Products made in North Minneapolis are given dedicated shelf space. North Memorial provides health services on nutrition and pharmaceutical management.

In designing North Market, Knock engaged the surrounding community to create a design that would most resonate with them and meet their needs. The color orange, for example, which is dominant throughout the space, was selected as Knock found it resonated deeper with the roots of African-American and Latinx cultures.

The project was funded by various philanthropic and corporate partners, with Cargill Foundation and Otto Bremer Trust two of the biggest funders. Others include General Mills, who has also provided in-kind support, and Target. The biggest donor to the project, however, was the State of Minnesota.