Fresh fruits and vegetables have become popular on Parsons Avenue, prompting a community market to relocate to a bigger storefront across the street.

Community Development for All People, a nonprofit organization that serves the needy on the south side of Columbus, will lease the site at 945 Parsons Ave. that formerly housed the German Village Drive-Thru.

The move will accomplish many things. For example, coolers once used to chill beer and wine will be used to keep produce fresh longer, reducing the frequency of drop-offs during the week, said the Rev. John Edgar, executive director of Community Development for All People and pastor of the United Methodist Church for All People.

The entities operate independent of each other.

"Now we'll be able to wheel pallets (of food) in here," Edgar said.

The current 700-square-foot store, simply known as the Fresh Market, is getting too crowded, Edgar said. The new, 1,900-square-foot facility, has capacity for more merchandise as well as classroom space, where customers will be able to learn more about healthful eating, he said.

The new Fresh Market will be remodeled and won't be operational until June, Edgar said. It will be open five days a week, he said.

Greg Henneman, who runs the market, said it distributed 670,000 pounds of fresh produce last year. Needy customers who participate in health-education classes are issued an identification card and receive produce for free.

"I think the primary thing we do is build relationships with people," Henneman said.

Arch City Development, which purchased the drive-thru in January with the help of the city-run Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization program, will lease the space to Community Development for All People.

Edgar said he doesn't know what will become of the current market at 936 Parsons Ave. It is adjacent to Bikes for All People, a full-service shop that refurbishes bicycles and sells them at affordable prices, mostly $40 to $50, for people who need them.

"It's primary transportation for people in this community who do not have cars," Edgar said. Community Development for All People also oversees the bike shop.

Meanwhile, Arch City Development continues its efforts to improve blighted properties on Parsons Avenue. It is responsible for purchasing and closing an adult bookstore at 677 Parsons and selling it to Sidestreet Development, which plans an office, restaurant and brewery on the site, said Brian Higgins, executive director of Arch City.

"Removing the bookstore was a good plus for the neighborhood and eliminating this drive-thru is a high-positive replacement," Higgins said.

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary