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MARRERO, La. - New Orleans actor Wendell Pierce is trying to help his hometown by making more grocery stores and fresh food available in under-served neighborhoods.

On Tuesday, he opened up Sterling Farms grocery in Marrero, which is the first of several stores he plans to open.

'When you go in there, look at the faces of those young and old men and women who we've hired from your community to give a choice not only in food, but a choice in employment. I'll be the first to say that there are challenges in our community. We have crisis around. But, the sheriff can tell you, giving someone a job is the first step in prevention of a negative lifestyle,' Pierce said.

The 25,000 square foot store, which focuses on healthy food, was opened by Pierce and New Orleans businessmen Troy Henry and James Hatchett.

The group used a business model which allows for the establishment of these types of grocery stores in areas that do not typically have easy access to them, also called 'food deserts.'

The opening is part of a public-private partnership.

'They sat down and helped us structure. And the structuring that they put in place enabled us to get this whole thing done in a way that would have been a lot more difficult and more challenging,' Henry said.

The store is located at 5969 Lapalco Blvd.

Maya Rodriguez will have more on this story on the Eyewitness Evening News.

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