Sophie Bolich

Sherman Park Grocery Opens

Owner plans a holistic approach to community wellbeing, starting with access to fresh, healthy food,

By - Jul 15th, 2022 05:30 pm
Ald. Khalif Rainey, Yashica Spears, Maurice Wince, Mayor Johnson and Commissioner Crump at the grand opening of Sherman Park Grocery. Photo by Sophie Bolich.

Ald. Khalif Rainey, Yashica Spears, Maurice Wince, Mayor Johnson and Commissioner Crump at the grand opening of Sherman Park Grocery. Photo by Sophie Bolich.

Nearly 100 community members gathered in the rain Friday morning to witness the grand opening of Sherman Park Grocery, a market focused on fulfilling a need for fresh, healthy food in the Sherman Park neighborhood.

Maurice “Moe” Wince opened the store with his wife, Yashica Spears.

A real estate agent, Wince has owned the building, 4315 W. Fond du Lac Ave., for years. When the daycare that formerly occupied the space closed during the pandemic, he took the opportunity to make a positive change in the community.

Alderman Khalif Rainey, one of numerous notable speakers at the ceremony, praised the resilience of the Sherman Park neighborhood.

“Having a business like Sherman Park Grocery that can offer the freshest produce and foods while teaching families how to make healthy meals and lifestyle choices will be a game changer in an area that has long been a food desert,” Ald. Rainey said in a statement. “This project is a shining example of what we can accomplish when the right people come to the table, and I want to thank all of the partners who helped make this a reality.”

Located on the bustling Fond du Lac Avenue thoroughfare just up the street from Sherman Phoenix, the store is stocked with fresh produce, canned and frozen goods, packaged meats and household goods like cleaning supplies.

Produce at Sherman Park Grocery. Photo by Sophie Bolich.

Produce at Sherman Park Grocery. Photo by Sophie Bolich.

More than just a grocery store, the 2,180 square foot space will host a myriad of programs focused on supporting youth, entrepreneurs and others in the neighborhood.

The building’s second level is home to a fully operational hydroponics farm, Fork Farms, that will work with youth to impart farming and entrepreneurial skills.

The farm will produce up to 250 pounds of mustard greens, collard greens, kale, lettuce and herbs each month to sell downstairs at the grocery store, said Josh Mahlik, director of partnership development.

In addition to hyperlocal produce, the store will source products from its neighbor, UpStart Kitchen, a business incubator for food creators. Current offerings include bakery from Cakes by Linda Kay.

The store is currently in its soft-opening phase, but eventually plans to add a hot deli section offering healthy versions of soul food meals for grab-and-go service. Wince also noted plans for a laundromat in the space.

To further support the community, Wince will partner with two local nonprofits to provide $50 gift cards to those who can’t cover grocery costs. The program, Feed My Sheep ministry, specifies that half of the money must be spent on produce and the other half on staples like grains and dairy.

Ald. Rainey praised Wince, saying that his work is a step in reshaping the narrative about Milwaukee.

“He keeps the community in mind first,” he said. “When you’ve got a partner like Moe, when you got a partner like Yashica and the Wince family, it’s nothing that’s impossible.”

The store is supported by the City’s Fresh Food Access Fund, an initiative led by Ald. Rainey that seeks to provide financial support to activities and initiatives that increase fresh food access and healthy food choices in underserved communities. The project received a total of $50,000.

“I think today with this establishment, we can really do something to change the culture in our community,” Ald. Rainey said.

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