Resident says he's developing Youngstown grocery store - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

Resident says he's developing Youngstown grocery store

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

Born and raised in Youngstown, a 28 year-old plans to fulfill his father's dream of opening a grocery store on the city's south-side. 

Youngstown is considered a "food desert." Meaning good-quality, affordable fresh-food is hard to find. According to United States Department of Agriculture maps, most of Youngstown has a significant number of residents at least one mile away from a grocery store.

Ron Carlos Hilton  is working alongside a team to help bring his father's vision to life. He has developed blue-prints and a plan to renovate a building he inherited from his father at the corner of Hillman and St. Louis.

"He got sick and couldn't finish it, so before he passed away I told him I'll finish out his dream and get the store running," said Hilton.

The dream is to name the store "Gene's Market," after his dad's name. The inside will offer fresh fruits, vegetables and meats, as well as necessities like baby products.

"Everybody is tired of traveling elsewhere just to get what we used to have in our neighborhood, it should have already been here," said Hilton.

Renovations to the building could cost more than one-million dollars, but Hilton knew going in that this wasn't going to be a cake walk. He's got a team working behind him and they're looking to several sources of funding to make this plan a reality.

"They set aside funds for development of these kind of projects, in these kinds of areas, and we are hoping to be one of the projects chosen that they will fund," said Consultant Deborah Blakely.

If those grant dollars don't come through they hope the community will provide some support.

"We're starting a Go-Fund me page, we're going to do some community events to raise the funds because it is a community effort," said Blakely.

The goal is to open by February 2020.

Parts of Austintown, Boardman, Girard, Niles and Warren are all considered 'food deserts.' 

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