2021 Newsmakers: Alita Kelly and Khara DeWit

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Alita Kelly and Khara DeWit

Co-founders

South East Market

The co-founders of the South East Market concluded their first calendar year of operations in December, and what a year it was.

Alita Kelly and Khara DeWit in 2020 founded and in January 2021 opened the doors of the South East Market, 1220 Kalamazoo Ave. SE in Grand Rapids. Its mission is to offer healthy and culturally appropriate food sourced from diverse growers and vendors to the community through a sustainable and equitable lens.

Along with regular in-store shopping, the market offers customers the opportunity to donate funds to bring down the price of goods in the store, as well as buy produce subscriptions or gift them to others. Delivery is free to those who live in the 49507 ZIP code.

In November, the co-founders reported their business in 2021 worked with over 20 local farms and over 30 priority vendors, i.e., Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC) and/or women-led companies; delivered over 1,300 orders of free groceries; made over 2,000 produce subscription bundles; employed 11 individuals; diverted over 2,000 pounds of food waste to compost; served over 100 children in its enrichment programming, the Freedom School; and built a community garden where the Freedom School students learned to grow their own food.

“All the ways we’ve felt love and shared love with our neighbors, farmers, vendors and customers can’t fit in a statistic to understand the reach of the store,” Kelly and DeWit said.

The co-founders have several projects and partnerships in the works for 2022, on which the Business Journal previously reported.

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