Bingo's is a community market located on the ground floor of Patten Towers, offering accessible, affordable, & healthy food options for all in downtown Chattanooga. This project was a collaboration between Causeway, The YMCA, The Enterprise Center, and PK Management. I designed the brand in collaboration with Aggie Toppins.
In 2015, a quarter mile radius of downtown Chattanooga was declared the Innovation District. The Edney building, on the corner of Market and 11th Street was chosen as the hub of that district. With all of the excitement that was building in the emerging district, a lot of questions were raised about the building sitting right across the street: Patten Towers.
Patten Towers is an independently owned, government subsidized apartment building, with over 200 residents. To live in Patten Towers, residents must have a disability, either mental or physical, and be below a certain income level. Many residents live on less than $500 a month. All of the residents of Patten Towers are facing some hard issues that give them few options. We wondered, how can we harness the innovative spirit emerging in Chattanooga, and use it to address the problems of our city’s most vulnerable residents?
We started by simply getting to know each other. A group of employees from several businesses and organizations in the Innovation District started playing bingo with the residents of Patten Towers every other week. That led to many more interactions and a deeper understanding of the issues the residents were facing. In the fall of 2017, with support from the Lyndhurst Foundation, Causeway, The Enterprise Center, the YMCA, and PK Management partnered to open a small, healthy corner store on the ground floor of Patten Towers. The store sells fresh produce, grocery staples, healthy grab-and-go breakfast and lunch, $1 coffee, and other items, all at the most affordable price possible. Residents and anyone using an EBT card receive an additional discount to ensure affordability.
In order for this store to be successful, we knew that we needed shoppers who are residents of the building, and shoppers who live and work in the Innovation District. Aggie Toppins and I collaborated to create a brand that appealed to both audiences. We hosted feedback sessions with residents, and employees in the Innovation District.
Causeway led a crowdfunding campaign the month leading up to the soft opening. The goal was less about raising additional funding, and more about building community buy-in. Everyone who gave to the campaign was awarded a Bingo’s Market gift card for the amount they gave, ensuring a steady stream of customers as soon as the doors opened. We exceeded our goal and raised $11,275 from 147 donors. That funding gave us some additional runway to stock the store, and is helping us get people into the habit of shopping at Bingo’s regularly.
Bingo’s Market invited people in for a soft opening in mid October 2017, and had it's official ribbon cutting and grand opening on December 14th. The founding organizations will support Bingo's Market for a 1 year pilot period. In that time we are working to get the store to a financially sustainable place, so that it can be passed off to a local entrepreneur to run.