Dallas City Council approved a $350,000 low-interest loan for Royal Blue Grocery’s plans for a location on West Davis, but the grocer will not receive an additional $350,000 economic development grant as proposed.
A condition of the loan requires Royal Blue to make efforts to hire locally for jobs that will pay $15 an hour. If they accept the deal, the grocer also will be required to do at least one fundraiser a year benefitting a community garden and have “prices comparable to retail grocery outlets in the area.”
City Council voted 13-1 in favor of the proposal; City Council member Carolyn Arnold, who represents Oak Cliff’s District 4, voted against it.
“My biggest takeaway is that most business owners don’t know how to do business with the city,” District 1 City Councilman Chad West said.
The city has $1.7 million in economic development grants set aside for small businesses in West’s district.
But in a meeting with neighbors last month, the city’s economic development director, Courtney Pogue, admitted that Dallas hasn’t publicized that.
“We have not done a great job marketing our tools,” Pogue told neighbors.
In an effort to correct that, West arranged a bilingual workshop for anyone who wants to learn about opportunities for economic development funds from the city. It’s at noon Thursday, Jan. 30 at the Oak Cliff Chamber of Commerce.
Royal Blue co-owner Zac Porter has not yet returned a call seeking comment.
The grocer operates a “commissary” out of the building at 634 W. Davis that formerly housed Bolsa Mercado, producing packaged foods that are sold at its three Dallas stores — one in Highland Park and two in Downtown. The $350,000 loan is meant to expand the commissary operation, such as purchasing kitchen equipment. It is unclear whether the grocer will open a retail operation there.