Understanding the impact of Cook Medical's Indy Fresh Market project

In 2020, Cook Medical selected a Northeast Indianapolis site to develop a new medical device component manufacturing facility. The venture promises to bring jobs to an area left behind by economic growth. Ongoing engagement with community members informed leaders at Cook that food access in the neighborhood was a high-priority need without a clear solution. In fact, 47% of Marion County residents live in food deserts—areas where people have limited access to a variety of healthy and affordable food.

Equitable food access is a complex problem, requiring innovative and dynamic approaches to meet consumer demand for grocery stores that are physically accessible, clean, secure, and price sensitive to fresh food.

In response, Cook expanded its activities and investments in the area, working with its partners to build a new full-size grocery store. Two northeast side resident-entrepreneurs—who used to own and operate a small local convenience store—will eventually own and operate the new Indy Fresh Market grocery store. The future owner-operators are receiving in-depth training on all aspects of grocery store operations and management.

Cook and its partners asked the IU Public Policy Institute to examine the immediate and future economic impacts of the Indy Fresh Market grocery store, provide a set of recommendations on collecting and analyzing feedback on the store’s community impact and employment outcomes over time, and enable a long-term evaluation of this key community investment.

Key community-focused project details

  • The project intentionally seeks to hire operations employees from the neighborhood and nearby community where the grocery store will be located. 
  • Thus far, 100% of the project construction has been performed by minority and women-owned businesses, and Cook has promoted use of local minority- and women-owned business suppliers. 
  • The project development partners work together closely and have clear roles for engaging with the community and its stakeholders. They prioritize their engagement based on collaboration with and feedback from community members. Each partner is focused on economically and socially empowering community residents to help them succeed over time.
  • Two local residents who owned a small convenience store in the community will run the grocery store. 
  • Over time, complete ownership of the store operation and real estate will be transferred to the two resident-entrepreneurs on a contract purchase model.

Economic impact of Indy Fresh Market construction

$11.1 millionTotal direct, indirect, and induced economic impact 

61Estimated number of jobs created