Better Banking. Better Lives.

New Orleans Fresh Food Retailer Initiative

The Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI) is an innovative new financing program created by the City of New Orleans to increase the number of supermarkets, grocery stores, and other fresh food markets in low-income, underserved communities across Orleans Parish. The intent of the program is to enable operators to open, renovate, or expand retail outlets that sell fresh fruits and vegetables. Hope Enterprise Corporation (HOPE) and The Food Trust are partners in administering this citywide program, which meets the financing needs of food markets in communities where infrastructure costs and credit needs cannot be filled solely by conventional financial institutions.

Fresh Food Retailer Initiative

Under the FFRI program, HOPE will provide a combination of interest-bearing and/or forgivable loans for predevelopment, site assembly and improvement, construction and rehabilitation, equipment installation and upgrades, staff training, security, and inventory and working capital for start-up costs. The City has provided $7,000,000 in Disaster Community Development Block Grant (D-CDBG) funds toward the program, which will be matched 1:1 by HOPE. The Food Trust will evaluate applications to determine eligibility for the program.

The initiative was created in response to the lack of fresh, healthy foods in many New Orleans neighborhoods, a problem exacerbated by Hurricane Katrina, and growing evidence that supermarket access reduces the risk of developing diet-related diseases such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. The Fresh Food Retailer Initiative will directly benefit low- and moderate-income residents in New Orleans by providing healthy food access, creating jobs, and revitalizing neighborhoods.

If you are interested in this program, you may contact HOPE by phone at 504-585-2860 or via email at

You may also visit the City of New Orleans’ Fresh Food Retailer Initiative website page for more information.

Visit The Food Trust website for background on the importance of the availability of fresh, healthy foods. Founded in 1992, The Food Trust is a non-profit organization dedicated to making affordable, healthy food available to all. The Food Trust was a key partner of the Fresh Food Financing Initiative in Pennsylvania, a statewide program that has helped to open 88 stores in underserved areas.

The following documents are available to provide additional details about the initiative and include forms that should be completed by interested applicants.

Program Overview

Program Guidelines

Frequently Asked Questions

Top 10 Tips for Applicants

Eligibility Application

Business Loan Application
(to be completed after Eligibility is determined)


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LITTLE ROCK, AR – Hope Enterprise Corporation and Hope Credit Union (HOPE) celebrated the grand opening of its newest location at 8411 Interstate 30 in Southwest Little Rock on Thursday, June 2. The new full service location expands on HOPE’s existing presence, a program office housing a commercial lender since 2006 and a branch in College Station since 2008, and offers area residents access to checking and savings accounts, auto loans and credit cards, mortgages and small business loans. Anyone who supports the mission of HOPE, to improve the quality of life for low-income and low-wealth individuals in the Mid South, may join the credit union to take advantage of the benefits of membership. “We are excited to open our newest branch in Southwest Little Rock, a diverse and growing community filled with opportunity,” said HOPE CEO Bill Bynum. “We are grateful to our long time partners the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, NeighborWorks® America and Regions Bank for their ongoing generosity and support to make this day possible.” Since 2008, HOPE has expanded from 7 to 27 locations – many of which are located in communities where few affordable banking options exist. HOPE serves 30,000 members, one out of three of whom were unbanked when they joined. Through July 31, 2016, HOPE will feature special offers to help make it more affordable for people to become members. The credit union will waive the monthly fee on all checking accounts for six months and the application fee on personal loans. HOPE offers checking and savings accounts, consumer and mortgage loans and commercial lending services. The Little Rock branch is open Monday – Thursday 9am – 4pm and Friday 9am – 6pm. For more information about HOPE or a complete list of services and locations, visit About HOPE HOPE (Hope Enterprise Corporation and Hope Credit Union) is a community development financial institution, community development intermediary and policy center that provides affordable financial services; leverages private, public and philanthropic resources; and engages in policy analysis in order to fulfill its mission of strengthening communities, building assets, and improving lives in economically distressed parts of the Mid South.

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