Tonight, when President Obama gives his State of the Union address, he's expected to acknowledge a fourth-generation New Jersey grocer who builds supermarkets in poor neighborhoods, including four in Philadelphia.
Jeff Brown, 46, who runs Brown's Super Stores Inc. of Westville, Gloucester County, acknowledged yesterday that he would be a guest of honor seated in Michelle Obama's box in the House of Representatives during the speech.
"It's cool," Brown said. "So cool."
Obama is expected to mention the idea of building more supermarkets in impoverished areas, commonly called supermarket deserts because of the dearth of stores large enough to sell fresh food.
It's great news that addressing food access for low-income folks truly is a priority in the White House. Brown operates several Shop-Rite's in struggling Philly neighborhoods and deserves credit for his efforts. The only thing I'll ding him for is his vocal and influential opposition to Philly's failed plastic bag ban of last summer. Still, net net, he's one of the good guys so good for him for getting his work (and Philly) some much-needed attention.