November 15th, 2013
Food, Culture & Community – Pogue’s Run Grocer
by Bryan Enas
Although a variety of opinions may exist about the Brookside neighborhood in Indianapolis, no one can deny the invaluable impact Pogue’s Run Grocer has had on the community. When grocery stores within the near east side closed down, Pogue’s Run developed out of the dire need for a grocer along with the desire to provide the neighborhood with healthy and natural foods. Aimed at revitalizing the community by way of healthy food, the grocer opened their doors to the public in late December of 2010.
As a true food cooperative, Pogue’s Run allows those who pay a membership fee to gain equity, or actual ownership of the store, along with discounts on in-store products; however, a membership is not required to come in and shop. General Manager Nathan Roberts says they do not push the idea of being a member because they want everyone in the community to feel welcome to use Pogue’s Run as a resource for healthy living. While some people who have a little more money may become members and help out the neighborhood by supporting Pogue’s Run, they understand that it is not in everyone’s budget to pay for a membership. Nevertheless, Nathan says the goal is to serve the entire neighborhood and not just a select few.
One thing Nathan believes to be a challenge for Pogue’s Run is the stigma of its location: he feels that often people write off the east side of Indianapolis as a dangerous place and not worth the drive down 10th Street. His response to this perception is that people have lost sight of the interesting architecture and the great feeling in the air of the old-style neighborhood Brookside really has. He encourages people from other parts of town to take a trip down 10th Street and decide for themselves what to think of the neighborhood rather than relying on preconceived notions of East 10th and the adjacent neighborhoods.
Looking towards the future, Nathan says Pogue’s Run ideally looks to expand into another neighborhood with needs such as Brookside’s, and hopefully incorporate a similar feeling of nostalgia that the small, family-style grocery exudes. A plausible location for another store would be within a mixed income neighborhood able to support another store and reap the benefits of having a co-op grocer nearby. Nevertheless, with just one location, Pogue’s Run Grocer undoubtedly serves the local neighborhood and surrounding communities with natural foods geared towards supplying the basis for healthy living.