Housing and Community Development Department
Communications and Press Releases
Pyburn's Store Provides Nutrition and Economic Opportunity
July 31, 2015 -- A hope for a healthier community coalesced on Friday, July 31, when residents and community leaders gathered to celebrate the grand opening of Pyburn’s Farm Fresh Foods. The $4.9 million store is the city’s first public/private partnership to make healthy food available in an area termed a “food desert” because it lacks nearby grocery stores. Pyburn’s is owned and operated by John Vuong, in partnership with his family. The City of Houston contributed $1.7 million of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds through the Houston Redevelopment Authority.
Mayor Annise Parker thanked the Vuong family for the store, noting its importance to the community. “This is an economic development project,” said the mayor, adding that the store is bringing jobs, as well as nutritious food, to the Old Spanish Trail (OST)/South Union community. The city’s agreement with Pyburn’s requires that 25 full-time permanent jobs be created. However, the store has already employed 47 full- and part-time workers, 95 percent of whom live within a two-mile radius.
Echoing the mayor’s sentiment, store owner John Vuong said, “The new Pyburn's will not only provide a well-stocked, clean, and fresh food source for many senior citizens and young mothers with children, but will also provide many jobs for years to come for those who live in the community who now will be able to walk to work,” he said.
City Housing and Community Development Director Neal Rackleff, whose department administers and monitors the CDBG funding contributed to the grocery store, explained what he termed the “triple bottom-line benefits” of bringing healthy food to communities. “It creates jobs, improves health and helps to revitalize the economy,” Rackleff said. He noted that Pyburn’s is part of $700 million in public and private investment currently planned or underway in the OST community.
District D Council Member Dwight Boykins, who grew up in the neighborhood surrounding the new store, said it was a “community dream.” He acknowledged some of the long-time community residents, spotlighting one who is now employed at Pyburn’s.
Pyburn’s is located at 7135 Scott Street, near Highway 288 and the 610 Loop in south Houston. An experienced grocer, Vuong owns and operates 11 other grocery stores in the Houston region. The 19,704-square-foot Scott location is Vuong’s first store constructed from the ground up.