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Downtown Springfield Big Y Express hiring, opening soon in Tower Square

Big Y Express is set to open at Tower Square in Springfield in the summer of 2023.
Elizabeth Román
/
NEPM
Big Y Express is set to open at Tower Square in Springfield in the summer of 2023.

Residents and people who work in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts, will soon have a grocery store with fresh produce and other staples. Big Y will open in Tower Square in June; the company is holding a hiring fair Tuesday,looking for about ten new employees, according to Colin D'Amour, Senior Director of Big Y Express.

The store, which will open this summer at 1500 Main St., needs "adequate but light staffing," D'Amour said, including clerks and assistant managers.

The location will be a "streamlined model," of a grocery store D'Amour said, as compared to Big Y's other operations. The Tower Square location is significantly smaller than a full size market — about a fifth of the size.

"We won't have full butcher shops and full seafood shops because we're limited to the space that we have," D'Amour said. "Those departments require larger coolers; they require working space."

But with an assortment of baked goods and fresh produce though smaller amounts, D'Amour said he thinks the store will meet customers needs.

Big Y Express set to open at Tower Square in Springfield in the summer of 2023.
Elizabeth Román
/
NEPM
Big Y Express set to open at Tower Square in Springfield in the summer of 2023.

"I think we'll be able to fill your basket if you're looking for seafood options for dinner, if you're looking for some fresh meat," D' Amour said.

Springfield has been considered a food desert for years. Data collected by Massachusetts Public Health Associationshows that almost three million people living in low income areas in the state lack access to grocery stores. Springfield has been on the the top ten list of cities with the most significant grocery gap.

D'Amour said in the past, the company looked for ways to open a market in downtown Springfield.

"We've looked at a number of different opportunities," D'Amour said. "We've tried to make things work. I think it's been a challenge for us because this is such a different kind of market that there are a lot of of question marks for us."

To open the store, Big Y received $1 million in federal COVID relief money, from the city of Springfield. The city's support was necessary to make this happen D' Amour said.

A note here that Big Y is an underwriter of New England Public Media however that does not influence our news coverage.

Jill Kaufman has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing "The Connection" with Christopher Lydon and on "Morning Edition" reporting and hosting. She's also hosted NHPR's daily talk show "The Exhange" and was an editor at PRX's "The World."