Ajo Community Market is a community owned and operated discount grocery store with a unique objective. The market is modeled as a retail business running as a non-profit with the ultimate goal of returning 100% of net profits back into the local community. Our goal is to serve the local community in many ways, by offering affordable groceries, providing job experience, recycling grocery bags and cardboard, and reinvesting in our community.
The market was opened March 1, 2013 and currently employees one full-time and two part-time employees, with the hopes of being able to add more jobs in the future. In addition to paid employees, we work closely with the local GED work-study program. Students in the program work from 4 to 16 hours a week to gain work experience, as well as learn about different work environments and expectations in the workplace. The students perform many tasks including stocking shelves, customer relations and various cleaning tasks like breaking down boxes for recycling as shown in the picture. They are a definitely a welcome addition to the market. Our hopes are to encourage and educate the students so that they can be successful in future endeavors. We also benefit from our local community with the many volunteers, donators and investors that have given their time and support.
The market mainly stocks non-perishable food items that are slightly damaged or near expiration date in addition to a few taxable items like party supplies, laundry soap, and shampoo. We are also happy about our newest addition of a drink cooler so that we can offer cold drinks (just in time for our hot summer temperatures). All merchandise is offered at discounted prices and you never know what we may have on our shelves. On occasion, we also have fresh produce from the local, organic gardens.
We are located on the south side of the Historic Ajo Plaza and are currently opened Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 8:00am to 7:00pm, and on Saturday from 8:00am -3:00pm. Beginning in September, we will be open six days a week, Monday through Saturday. We accept cash, checks, major debit and credit cards. We have also applied to the USDA to be able to accept EBT (food stamps) and hope to be approved in the near future.
We also participate, along with the other businesses in the plaza, in sponsoring Under the Arches on the fourth Fridays of each month. This is a free event for the public that has live music, games for adults and children and prizes. Our first attempt last July was very successful and featured a poker-walk. We hope to get better each month as we learn what works best. It is a chance for our local community to socialize and enjoy our beautiful plaza. We will not have an event in August, but are planning a great event for the fourth Friday of September. We look forward to everyone attending.