Healthy food is coming to Imperial Beach in a big way when SunCoast Market Co-op opens next year. With much of its produce locally sourced, bulk staples like milk and eggs available at an affordable cost and a grab-and-go deli, healthy choices will soon be convenient.

“When we surveyed the community, we found that more than 70% of Imperial Beach residents leave our city to go grocery shopping and people are looking for more healthy options close to home,” said Kim Frink, SunCoast Market Co-op’s Board President. “By working together to form SunCoast, residents are creating solutions for themselves.”

Co-ops are owned by local members who influence decisions about ways the co-op may best serve the community. Nationally, food co-ops work with more local farmers and feature more organic food than a conventional grocery store. Co-op ownership is open to everyone and through donations, SunCoast Market offers financial assistance and payment plan options to increase accessibility.

After six years of grassroots organizing, SunCoast Market signed a lease in Silver Strand Plaza at 600 Palm Ave. in Imperial Beach. Fundraising for the $3.8 million start-up costs is underway. Those one-time costs include tenant improvements, equipment such as refrigeration, check out stations, and the creation of the deli and salad bar.

The Imperial Beach market will be just the second co-op in the San Diego area; the first opened over 50 years ago in Ocean Beach. SunCoast Market Co-op will also be the first in the nation built in a primarily Latino community and hopes to be the first to open debt-free.

Imperial Beach’s former Mayor Serge Dedina says, “Having a co-op is a really effective way of investing in the community, investing in the people here, and providing the most cost-effective way to offer healthy food options for everyone.”

More than $1.1 million has already been committed by the City of Imperial Beach, the County of San Diego and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as by the 1000 plus member-owners of the co-op. The SunCoast board has applied for several grants and is optimistic about additional grant funding.

Donations are also needed from those who want to support improving community health and healthy food access, economic growth throughout the region, and who want to improve environmental sustainability in the food and grocery industry.

To raise $250,000 of the start-up costs, a fun and flavorful event, Here Comes the Sun is scheduled for March 16 at the Coronado Cays Yacht Club. The event offers a chance to meet future SunCoast vendors and sample local foods and beverages. A portion of the ticket costs and sponsor donations is tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Bill Huck, who is the event co-chair, says, “We’re excited to welcome everyone to be a part of this grassroots effort to create and equip the Silver Strand Deli & Kitchen at the new market. The name will celebrate the physical, social and cultural connections that join the Imperial Beach, Coronado and the Navy communities. We hope all these communities will join us on March 16 to support SunCoast.”

Tickets for the event will be available starting on Feb 1 at To sign up for updates about the event, become a SunCoast member or sponsor, or for more information visit

VOL. 113, NO. 5 - Feb. 1, 2023

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