Domonique Christian remembers witnessing several of the deficiencies in the Stop Six neighborhood, including the lack of grocery stores and transportation for eldery residents she worked with.
Christian is not a resident of Stop Six, but worked as a leasing specialist in the neighborhood for the Fort Worth Housing Authority from 2011 to 2013 at Cavile Place. The public housing community was home to generations of families in southeast Fort Worth — before it was demolished in January of 2021. The city is converting the land to mixed-incoming housing as part of the Stop Six Choice Neighborhood Initiative.
“It was difficult for them,” Christian said. “They didn’t have access to grocery stores, food banks or getting to a food pantry. It’s a low-income community, and they just didn’t have a lot of resources.”
The U.S. Department of Agriculture classifies Stop Six as a food desert because residents have limited access to fresh produce and quality food within a mile from a grocery store.
The Department of Agriculture considers the following factors when defining food deserts:
- Accessibility to sources of healthy food, as measured by distance to a store or by the number of stores in an area;
- Individual-level resources that may affect accessibility, such as family income or vehicle availability;
- Neighborhood-level indicators of resources, such as the average income of the neighborhood and the availability of public transportation.
Morning Supermarket was the only grocery store available in the Stop Six community before it was closed and put up for sale.
Lonestar Development LLC acquired the market’s former building in November of 2021, according to Tarrant Appraisal District. They purchased it from Morning Supermarket Inc., a Texas corporation, who had owned the space since 2001.
Now, Funky Town Fridge founder Kendra Richardson is leading a call to action to purchase the building and create a distribution center in the existing space for the neighborhood.
Stop Six resident Joyce Thompson said she couldn’t remember when the market shut down, but heard from talks around town that it was “just closed” and up for sale in 2021.
Christian heard conflicting stories from residents on what happened to Morning Supermarket.
“A lot of people said that it was theft,” Christian said. “Then a lot of people said that they lost business, because they ended up putting the Walmart (2900 Renaissance Square) out here, which is nowhere near Stop Six, so I didn’t really believe that answer. I heard that the owner just decided to sell, so it depends on who you ask. You get a conflict in the story.”
Built in 1952, the market changed owners several times over the years, but grocers have a long history at that location.
“When we found out that the morning market was up for sale, we decided that we were the ones who should own it and who should be able to take ownership of a building that meant so much to us,” Richardson said. “It would for sure give us a sense of help to keep our stories alive and preserve our history.”
Funky Town Fridge is a community fridge project that currently places refrigerators outside of privately owned buildings, but the fridges are for anybody in the community to donate or take pre-packaged food.
“Our whole lives, this was the only place that we could get food, ” Richardson said. “This store, as small as it is, was the only store that this entire neighborhood had to get their groceries from.”
On Funky Town Fridge’s Facebook page, the project said a distribution center would be useful to house larger fridges. Their current locations are at: 3114 Bryan Ave., 2308 Vaughn Blvd., 4005 Campus Dr., and 4500 East Berry St.
The distribution center would also be used for gatherings, classes, day care, toy drives, and any type of community events, according to their Facebook post.
Richardson debated on whether to pursue the idea but was motivated in an effort to help save the market. She believes people who don’t have roots in Stop Six or understand the significance of the building should not own it. “That’s really what the bottom line was,” she said.
Residents of Stop Six have been supportive of her organization’s call to action on social media, she said.
Christian is a strong supporter of opening a distribution center in the neighborhood.
“It’s not even just about food, it’s about community,” Christian said. “This distribution center can bring that community back together versus waiting on someone else to help them. If anything, more neighborhoods should be involved in something similar.”
“I think it will be good for the neighborhood,” Thompson said. “There’s a lot of residents around there that don’t have transportation. The closest store around is Fiesta on Berry street.”
Funky Town Fridge takes donations through Venmo, @FunkyTownFridge, or Cashapp, $FunkyTownFridge. The project provides the option for people to donate functional fridges as well.
Richardson’s hope is to make it a community-funded project. Funky Town Fridge started a GoFundMe with the goal to raise $500,000. The project has currently raised over $1,900.
“That store has been there as long as I can remember,” Christian said, “And rather than tearing it down to put something else, they should use that space to help the community.”
David Moreno is a spring fellow reporter for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at email@example.com or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.