NEWARK - A ribbon cutting ceremony was held today for the first large-scale food market to open in Newark in about 20 years.

Newark officials and a coalition of partners gathered to celebrate the opening of a 31,000-square foot Food Depot Supermarket in the city's Central Ward.

The project is expected to create more than 100 jobs.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker says it's part of a wider initiative to combat so-called food desert areas by giving Newark's residents access to healthier food options like fresh fruits and vegetables.

"This today is an answer to our prayers," Booker said.

The $8 million project is being funded by a mix of private investment and grant money. Owners Orfilio Chaviano and Nick Gonzalez III both have roots in Newark through working in family grocery stores.

"It's all about cleanliness, it's about the nice experience, it's about pricing, pricing in today's financial times," said Chaviano. "People want price and we're here and we're going to give them the best price for produce."

AP wire services contributed to this report.