Atiba Johnson and Khalil Morris, co-owners of the newly opened Front Street Market & Produce, 604 S. Front St., say they saw a need and are working hard to fulfill it.
“In recent years there has been a push for more access to groceries in the downtown area,” Johnson said.
Johnson, who has owned several local businesses and is involved with local non-profit organizations, said it was important to him to provide easy access to fresh produce and grocery staples to downtown residents, many of whom rely on public transportation to shop for food.
Johnson said the building at 604 S. Front had been vacant for some time and was in need of significant repairs, including a new HVAC system, when he and Morris took over the lease in February.
The market, which celebrated a grand opening this past weekend, carries fresh produce, milk, eggs, bread, cereal and other staples. Johnson said he and Morris are working with local farmers to carry seasonal produce, though they do supplement with produce from other vendors in order to have a wide enough variety on a regular basis.
Johnson noted that while the market is designed for convenience, it’s much more than a convenience store in terms of the quality of items available.
The market also carries beer, wine, juice and soda, and there is a bar at the front of the store.
Customers will also find a pool table, TVs and an outdoor patio for socially-distanced gathering. Friday night wine tastings are expected to take place each week from 6 to 8 p.m. showcasing three to four wines, and mimosas are served Saturdays. There are also plans for local food trucks to visit the market on weekends.
“We’re just starting out so we don’t have everything in place that we may have eventually,” Johnson said. “We’re definitely looking for feedback from our customers so that we can tailor the market based upon their requests.”
Front Street Market & Produce is open from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
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