BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Mandella Market on East Ferry Street broke ground on an expansion project on Thursday. 

The store's owner, Ahmed Saleh, says he's planning to use the new space to provide more healthy food options to the market's customers.

"Most people, most customers, they love to have the fresh food," Saleh said.

There is a need. The Tops Friendly Market on Jefferson Avenue is the only grocery store on Buffalo's East Side. 

For many people getting to and from that store can be a challenge, which means corner stores like the Mandella Market are often where they go shopping. 

With a grant from the East Side Corridor Economic Fund, Saleh hopes to fill the nutritional gap. 

"A kitchen, more shelves," he said. "If you put more room,  you'll put more what the people they need. You know? More fresh vegetables."

Sheila Bass with the Healthy Corner Store Initiative tells 2 On Your Side that she knows people who live in the immediate area of Mandella Market. She already has ideas for what she's like to see in the store. 

"We want to bring more healthy choices here, not just fruits and vegetables as well. We want to bring low-fat dairy products and whole grains as well," she said. 

Saleh plans to start construction as early as next week. He is optimistic that he will be finished in the spring of 2020 as long as the winter isn't too harsh.

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