Traveling grocery store provides opportunity to food deserts

Community benefits from Twin Cities Mobile Market


Megan Hoenie

Community member shops at the Twin Cities Mobile Market Feb. 21.

Talia Lissauer

Offering accessible and affordable groceries to food deserts around the Twin Cities, the Mobile Market has added a stop in St. Louis Park, Tom Rapacz said. 

“It’s a moving grocery store, and we have vegetables, fruits, as well as meats. Mostly everything that is on the bus is pretty good for you,” Rapacz said. “I was hired as a bus driver, but that involves unloading and loading all of the produce each morning, cleaning the bus and then running the register when you get to the location as well.”

According to community member Sharonda Hopkins, the Mobile Market allows her to buy food right outside of her apartment complex.

“I’m shopping at the Mobile Market because it’s convenient, so I don’t have to go to the grocery store for my Friday dinner,” Hopkins said. “It’s convenient, (you could find the same items at) Cub Foods grocery store and you are saving fees of transportation.” 

The St. Louis Park stop is located at the Hamilton apartment building Fridays from 3-4 p.m. According to building manager Tonya Warren, herself and many of the residents have benefited from the Mobile Market.

It’s really worth it, the prices are reasonable, the food is fresh I would consider the food fresh availability as (good as) a grocery store”

— Sharonda Hopkins

“I manage this building and the Mobile Market is a great feature for the residents, and I like to come in and shop too, for my own self,” Warren said. “I think it’s great, our residents love it, it’s really effective for them especially those who are elderly and mobility impaired. We have heard nothing but good thing from the residents about it.” 

Rapacz said the bus offers a service that allows those who use an EDT credit card to receive one market buck for every dollar they spend. 

“We give out what is called market bucks, which is when someone uses their EDT card and they purchase food,” Rapacz said. “For every dollar of food they buy they get one of these market bucks.” 

According to Hopkins, the market offers realistic prices for fresh food one could find at a store.

“It’s really worth it, the prices are reasonable, the food is fresh. I would consider the fresh food availability as (good as) a grocery store, Hopkins said.

Warren said as long as the market stops in St. Louis Park she will visit it because of the prices.  

“I come as often as I can and will continue to come and (as long as) the bus continues to stop here,” Warren said. “It is easy, it’s convenient, the prices are fair and it’s one of the only grocery stores that you can walk into and receive free groceries when you walk out.”

According to Rapacz, students can get involved with the bus by volunteering.

“If you are looking to volunteer, we do have high school and college students that volunteer. You come and bag groceries and carry them outside the bus and help load and unload,” Rapacz said.

For more information about the bus including stop times and locations visit the Twin Cities Mobile Market page.