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Independent Opens in La. Food Desert

WINNSBORO, La. — Ford's Fine Foods, an independent based in Colfax, La., has opened its fourth store in a food desert here — an area impacted by Hurricane Katrina — with help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development Agency.

The company obtained a $5 million loan to refinance debt on existing facilities owned by parent company Ford Holdings to build the new store and to purchase inventory and equipment. The 19,500-square-foot store opened late last month.

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Ford operates three other retail locations — in Colfax, Jonesville and Wisner, La. According to the USDA, owner Quinon Ford decided to build the new store on the south side of Winnsboro — which is designated as a consistent poverty area with a high unemployment rate — because he felt the community was not being properly served by stores located on the city's north side. The new store will be accessible to outlying rural communities and small towns, the USDA noted.

Ford is a member of Associated Wholesale Grocers, Kansas City, Kan.

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