Empire State Development Announces Completed Expansion of 'Your Bargain Grocer' in Utica

New 12,000-Square-Foot Grocery Store Will Create 10 New Jobs While Supporting Food Equality and Accessibility

December 3, 2018

Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the completion of the Compassion Coalition’s “Your Bargain Grocer," a new 12,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art grocery store located in downtown Utica, Oneida County. The new, larger space incudes a commercial kitchen to prepare and provide healthy, ready-to-eat meals for their customers and will support the creation of 10 new jobs.

ESD President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Supporting businesses that promote community growth are vital to our economic development mission, and Your Bargain Grocer is a walkable, affordable and accessible grocery store in downtown Utica that promotes local growers and provides healthy choices for residents.”  

Compassion Coalition invested $3.5 million into the new facility – their first brick and mortar retail location at 1110 Lincoln Avenue – which is 10 times the size of their original location. They plan to create 10 positions in addition to their current workforce of 14 employees. Compassion Coalition works closely with both Working Solutions “Second Chance” program to provide jobs for people with a criminal record and the Mohawk Valley Resource Center for Refugees to support newcomers to the city to fill their vacant positions. ESD has agreed to provide up to $600,000 through a performance-based capital grant, recommended by the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council (MVREDC) during Round V of the Governor's regional council initiative.

Mike Servello Sr., Founder and CEO of Your Bargain Grocer, said, “We are thankful to Empire State Development and all of our partners in New York State Government who have helped us tremendously and have enabled us to complete this transformational project. Our focus has always been on serving those in our communities who are often overlooked, and this store will bring new opportunities to serve those in desperate need.”

Your Bargain Grocer aims to promote food accessibility and equality at the new store, while using the profits to support targeted programming that generates a positive regional impact. Programs such as their teacher resource center, mattress giveaways, pop-up grocery stores and agency-related services are all funded through the store. Your Bargain Grocer has spent the past eight years at a smaller location dedicated to solving the issue of food waste in America. According to the USDA, 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. is wasted each year. By working with vendors across the country to buy overages of product and food and vegetables, Your Bargain Grocer can sell fresh, healthy products at 30-50 percent off retail and extend the buying power of customers. 

MVREDC Co-chairs Dr. Dustin Swanger, President of Fulton-Montgomery Community College, and Lawrence T. Gilroy III, President of Gilroy, Kiernan & Gilroy, Inc. said, “On behalf of the Council, we proudly support the relocation and expansion of Your Bargain Grocer, allowing the Compassion Coalition to extend its reach by providing more low-cost food and creating new jobs to benefit the community.”

Senator Joseph Griffo said, “I am pleased that the Compassion Coalition’s expansion of its Your Bargain Grocer store is completed. This larger, updated and more modern space will allow the organization to continue to do the great work it already does while also providing residents with access to healthy food options and creating jobs. I would like to congratulate Compassion Coalition and its partners on the completion of this this worthwhile, meaningful and significant endeavor that will benefit the entire community and region.”

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi said, “This new project the state is investing in brings many benefits, including providing affordable, healthy food for residents of West Utica and the downtown district.  It will also create new job opportunities for area residents. After doing an excellent job serving residents of the Utica area from its original site for a number of years, Compassion Coalition now will expand its role helping to fight poverty and improve nutrition from a new, much larger facility in the heart of Utica.”

Oneida County Executive Anthony J. Picente said, “Compassion Coalition provides affordable and healthy food to areas of Utica that need it most. With the opening of a larger, Your Bargain Grocer in Utica, we are tackling the problem of food accessibility head on.”

Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri said, “Compassion Coalition is a great partner which makes fresh and healthy food available to our community. With an investment by Empire State Development, Compassion Coalition will be able to expand and improve food accessibility. I thank ESD for its support and Compassion Coalition for enhancing the quality of life for our residents.”

About Empire State Development
Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency  (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of "I LOVE NEW YORK," the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov/  and www.esd.ny.gov.


Kristin Devoe | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313
ESD Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313