By CHELSEA FLEISCHMAN
Creative Crust will have its own display in the Market House by Tuesday, February 22, granting Pennsylvania Supplemental Nutrition Assistance users access to the bakery’s products and potentially expanding customer databases for both stores.
SNAP is a replacement for Food Stamps that can be used to buy food and help low-income families obtain a more nutritious diet by increasing their spending ability at grocery stores and supermarkets.
According to Hope Couch, Executive Director of the Crawford County Assistance Agency, 17 percent of Meadville residents currently use SNAP.
“I’m really glad we can offer such a superior product, great bread with all natural ingredients, to the SNAP customers,” said Market House Master Alice S
The Market House has been SNAP accessible for a little over 2 years, but getting to that point took quite the effort.
The USDA has strict guidelines in considering a business’ application. There must be at least three different products in each of the meat, grain, and dairy categories for consideration alone.
“It would be a wonderful thing if they changed the guidelines because as it now stands, the little guy who sells the superior product can’t accept SNAP,” Sjolander said.
The expansion would have been made sooner, however issues with the products’ packaging delayed progress. The shelf display will be 4 racks containing an array of organic products, sourdoughs, and more of the artisan breads. Pricing will be exactly as it stands in Creative Crust.
Creative Crust, whose 2010 earnings of $243,000 fell $10,000 short of paying the bills, would benefit from increased store sales.
The store currently sells bread to various high end restaurants in Erie, and does business with are Chipper’s and The Whole Darn Thing, but they still aren’t breaking even financially.
“We’re just not getting the support we need here,” said Viki Allin Creative Crust owner, who explained that a lack of support prevents them from restricting their sales to only bread, something they’ve always wanted to do.
Allin feels that the move is hopeful, and questions whether the expansion to the Market House would draw the attention of other local grocery stores such as Tops or Valesky’s.
Allin feels that while it’s a good step, it won’t solve the greater problem.
“It’s more than just putting bread in the Market House. It’s about businesses supporting one another, which most of us in the community need to do now,” said Allin.
Despite being only a driveway’s distance away from each other, the Market House and Creative Crust seem to have separate customer bases, and share only two mutual Facebook fans.
“There’s energy over there that we like being a part of,” said Allin.
Despite the expansion’s potential, Allin is aware that it’s only a small step. “I think it’s really great that we’re going back into the Market House, but the overall giant picture isn’t going to be solved because the people here just don’t like the downtown.”