Three grocery stores planned for South Memphis area

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Three grocery stores are coming to South Memphis to help fight food insecurity.

They’ll be in neighborhoods where grocery stores are not always easy to get to.

The Southeast Regional Development Corporation president says a documentary showcasing food deserts in Memphis inspired her to lead this effort.

What makes this program unique is residents will become part owners of the stores.

“A lot of people don’t have transportation to get to the store,” South Memphis resident Shirly McAlister told FOX13.

McAlister takes her mother to the grocery store because she doesn’t have transportation in her South Memphis neighborhood.

McAlister’s mother isn’t alone. Senchel Matthews, President of the Southeast Regional Development Corporation, is spearheading the effort to bring three grocery stores to South Memphis. That means nutritious foods within walking distance.

“What’s really unique about the micro grocery store is that they get to drive the development. They’re sitting at the table with us, planning it out and helping build it so their own it,” she said.

Residents will get to choose which building style they want to go into their community. For McAlister, it’s about more than a grocery store. It’s about addressing the needs in economically distressed neighborhoods where transportation isn’t always an option.

“Fresh fruit would be a big plus for the neighborhood,” she said.

“They get to work in the stores. They get to identify where the food comes from, then they also get to plan monthly events that educate the residents on nutrition,” said Matthews.

Those buildings going up will be 1500 square feet.

No word on exactly where those grocery stores will be located. At least one of them will be close to the Stax Museum, where other development is already underway in the neighborhood.

Construction will start in the fall, and community meetings will start next month.