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ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — A first of its kind grocery store has opened in St. Joseph, Mo.

Fresh Start is a non-profit grocery store that serves the working poor.

“There are 52,000 individuals that need our support, currently we serve about 15,000 a week. So, there’s a huge gap from where we are today to where we are going and Fresh Start helps to expand that access,” said Chief Operating Officer Tamara Grubb.

The grocery store is a spin-off of the Second Harvest Community Food Bank. Customers apply for a free membership based on income guidelines. Any household making 200-percent of less of the Federal Poverty Income guidelines would qualify.

As an example, a family of four making $46,000 a year or less would qualify.

“We’re taking a huge risk but based on our projections at this point we look at this program to be self-sustaining in the next 3 years,” said Grubb.

Tuesday was the store’s first full day of operation and it was busy with customers like Clarice Steen, who say ” every penny does count for me because I only have maybe 50 dollars left after medicine and rent and all the bills and so that’s got to stretch.”

Steen just found out she’s diabetic and says finding healthy food that’s affordable can be a challenge.

“I have to eat differently and it’s really hard because fresh vegetables and fruit, they’re pretty expensive,” she said.

Grubb said the grocery store contains a mix of items that are free and those that are priced at retail rates. The free items are marked with a special sticker.

“We don’t carry chips, we don’t carry pop, we don’t carry any of those sort of items. So the products that are available here are what I like to call ‘real food’, ” said Grubb.

Fresh Start is open 8 a.m to 7 p.m. daily except Sunday.