PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Harvest Supermarket is becoming a reality for Peoria’s Southside.

Pastor Chuck Brown has been working on opening the supermarket at the corner of Western Ave. and Martin St. for the last year and half. With most of the financing squared away, Harvest Supermarket is set to open this summer.

“I see where the community has a lot of needs for essential services like a supermarket. We will solve the food desert crisis in that there is no fresh affordable and nutritional food in the community,” said Pastor Chuck Brown, owner of Harvest Supermarket.

And it’s much more than a supermarket. Brown plans to have a food court with a grill and coffee shop inside with seating for at least 30 people.

“Right now, there’s no place on the Southside where people can come and sit and meet your neighbors and get connected. It will offer that community place where people can be seen, heard, and feel safe, and it brings the community together,” said Brown.

Willie Simmons, owner of N & Out Market located next door, said Harvest Supermarket will complement his business.

“I think it is going to be great for the community. They’re going to be able to bring a lot more things than I can at my store,” he said.

Jesse Ruanalfaro said many of his neighbors on Martin St. don’t have access to fresh food or transportation.

“It is really difficult. The only place you can get it is over in East Peoria, that Walmart over there. I know a couple people, single mothers and stuff that don’t have cars. So this is really good for that,” he said.

Brown said he hopes the supermarket brings a sense of community pride to the Southside.

“There are incredible people on the Southside, but we’ve just got this narrative and we want to bring up a better atmosphere where people can come together as a community,” he said.

Harvest Supermarket will open in two phases, Brown said. The food court section will open first, followed by the supermarket with more than 1,200 items in 33 refrigerated units.

Eventually, the supermarket will have an in-house pantry called Harvest Project, which will offer community services and free food to those in need.

“We’re going to have a lot of things going on this summer, even if the store is quote-unquote not open yet, be prepared to come and shop,” said Brown.