Circle Food Store

NOLA institution embraces energy efficiency as a path to community resilience.

  • Industry: Grocery
  • Equipment: LED Lighting
  • Subscription Length: 60 months
  • Expected Savings: $14,640/year
  • CO2 Reduction: 146,381 lbs/year (Based on eGrid)
  • Location: New Orleans, LA

Organization History

The Circle Food Store first opened in 1938 as New Orlean's first African-American owned-and-operated grocery store. On top of being a full service grocery, where families could buy fresh produce, fill prescriptions, and order school supplies, the store was also a beloved community hub for generations of residents in the Seventh Ward neighborhood.

In 2005, the historic market closed after suffering severe damage during Hurricane Katrina, forcing many residents to travel multiple miles for access to fresh food. Thanks to an $8 million renovation and the perseverance of owner Dwayne Boudreaux, the store reopened in 2014 — a triumphant milestone in the city's recovery. The store, now fully back in service, functions as a pillar of health and equity for its surrounding neighborhoods.

The Opportunity

When LightEdison and their Channel Partner The Next Energy Technologies approached Circle Food Store about converting to LED lighting, Boudreaux recognized the opportunity to reduce the store's utility bills and greenhouse gas emissions. However, after having spent so many years rebuilding, Boudreaux was unsure how the grocery would pay for the new lighting technology. The Sparkfund Technology Subscription was the perfect solution to get the project done.

The Solution

The Sparkfund Technology Subscription allows customers to pay for energy efficiency upgrades over time instead of upfront. The subscription's risk-free guarantee also covers any and all maintenance of the new LED lighting system. For Circle Food Store, that means that their monthly energy savings will exceed their monthly subscription payments, and they will never have to worry about replacing broken bulbs.

I initially thought the subscription offering was too good to be true. Without having to pay upfront, I was able to pay for my improvements with some of the savings generated by my new system. I'd never seen anything like that before.

- Dwayne Boudreaux, Owner, Circle Food Store

The subscription program made the entire project possible. Being able to help businesses that don't have a huge budget for improvements, but are looking to be more sustainable, is one of the things that we enjoy the most about working with local businesses.

- Roger Timoteo, CEO, The Next Energy Technologies

The Outcome

Since replacing his old lighting with new LED bulbs, Boudreaux has seen tangible results. In additional to saving over $14,000 a year on utility bills and maintenance, he pointed out that "the store looks cleaner, and customers have commented that they can see the products, especially the produce, so much better now."

Boudreaux looks forward to further minimizing the store's carbon footprint and saving more money through continued improvements to his facilities. Future energy efficiency upgrades such as building controls and HVAC will be easy to add-on to the Technology Subscription. The store is also working with The Next Energy Technologies to install solar panels. Thanks to these strategic investments, Circle Food Store will continue to thrive as a New Orleans business leader dedicated to building community resilience.

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