Local business owner honored through York Road Façade Improvement Project
Loyola University Maryland’s York Road Initiative (YRI) and partners recently celebrated one of the first York Road Façade Improvement Project honorees as Family Food Market owner Khawar Jamil received an award of $7,500 to enhance his storefront. Baltimore City Councilman Mark Conway presented Jamil with the award in front of Jamil’s store on Sept. 23, 2022.
The York Road Façade Improvement Project supports commercial-fronting businesses in the 4600-4700 and 5400–5700 blocks of York Road, 5700 block of Bellona Avenue, and 500 block of Benninghaus Road in making exterior storefront improvements. The awards, which are available for up to $15,000 each, are part of the York Road Partnership’s broader community efforts and made possible through funding from the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
The Difference of a New Façade
The façade of Jamil’s Family Food Market will be transformed with a vibrant mural featuring produce and birds, designed in partnership with artist Iandry Randriamandroso and the Neighborhood Design Center. Randriamandroso has designed and painted additional bird murals along the York Road corridor.
“I tell everyone that the project will help their business because a new façade will encourage more people to come into their store,” Jamil says.
Known as Mr. Jimmy to his customers, Jamil has been a longtime neighborhood presence as owner of the Family Food Market, which has served the area in the 5400 block of York Road for 17 years. He remains motivated with a desire to support the community and encourages other store owners to participate.
The store’s new façade will also promote Jamil’s participation in FreshCrate, a fresh produce program through the University’s YRI. “Now people know they can get everything they need right in the neighborhood,” says Jamil, who is also a parent of Mohammad Jamil, who graduated from Loyola in May 2022.
The façade project launched in spring 2020 with an award to senior services housing community Epiphany House for repainting and adding lighting.
“This program helped us continue to preserve affordable housing units as well as make the York Road corridor safe for those living in our community,” says Nichole Doye Battle, chief executive officer of nonprofit GEDCO, the Baltimore Regional Neighborhood Initiative organization for the area and the lead applicant to secure the DHCD funding.
Community Development Efforts
The façade project is just one way the YRI has supported community development efforts with the neighboring York Road corridor for more than a decade.
“It’s important to Loyola as an anchor institution to support the community in making a stronger commercial district,” says Gia Grier McGinnis, Dr.PH., executive director for Loyola’s Center for Community, Service, and Justice (CCSJ), which oversees YRI. “A thriving commercial corridor benefits the broader community by bringing people together.”
Malik Jordan, who works with Loyola as project lead, agrees. “I’ve witnessed how clean and green revitalized efforts can set the conditions for success to occur. We’re planting those seeds for change.”
Looking to the Future
The façade improvement work is part of a larger effort to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) on the York Corridor, with an owner vote expected in November.
“I couldn’t be more excited about what the next several years will mean for York Road, its businesses, and its neighborhoods,” says Baltimore Councilman Mark Conway, a local partner in the project. “These façade improvements and Loyola’s partnership with community members and the 4th district office are key to a revitalized corridor.”