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New Gem City Market is poised to hire 24 as it gears up to open

By Sarah Franks Dayton Daily News

The founders of the Gem City Market are putting the finishing touches on the grocery co-op and are preparing to hire 24 employees ahead of its opening to the public.

Gem City Market’s organizers broke ground in Sept. 2019 in the 300 block of Salem Avenue and are now about two months away from opening for business, if all goes as planned. The community-owned grocery store will provide healthy food and help address northwest Dayton’s food insecurity. The market’s general manager, Leah Bahan-Harris, is now looking to hire customer service-oriented people in the coming weeks.

“The expectation has been set by the community and by myself that we’re going to exceed expectations,” Bahan-Harris said. “You just have to be faithful about your work and understand that the environment you’re in isn’t just about yourself, but it’s really about enriching others. And if that stuff makes you happy, I think it’ll be a good work environment.” Applications are being accepted now for four administrative positions: culinary manager, data and point-of-sale coordinator, administrative and engagement coordinator and outreach coordinator. Another 20 positions, both full-time and part-time, will be filled soon, starting later this month.

When the grocery store opens its doors — perhaps before the end of March — about 40% of its workers will be full-time employees. Workers will also have the option to become employee-owners, according to Bahan-Harris. All open positions start at $17 an hour, but depending on experience, could pay more. Visit to see all available positions and their job descriptions.

“The market is much-needed for many things our community, including jobs and the economy,” Bahan-Harris said. “So, when I see people who apply (from within) the community, I will take special note of that.”

So while the market is not hiring exclusively from surrounding neighborhoods, Bahan-Harris said special metrics are in place in the hiring process so that GCM ensures it’s truly honoring the needs of the community.

As the market nears its long-awaited finish line, Bahan-Harris only grows more focused, while trying to keep her excitement in check.

“If I get too excited, I won’t be able to focus,” Bahan-Harris said. “So as the manager, I am breathing in other people’s excitement, but there’s just so much to open a store — from picking the vendor, to random stuff like the color on the wall.”

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