Houston, Texas has its first Black-owned supermarket.
Owner Robert Thomas took the city’s District 1960 Nightclub, which he ran for 5 years before the COVID-19 pandemic started and renovated it into what is now known as District Market Green Grocer. The market also features products from Black-owned companies, FOX 26 Houston reported.
Thomas told reporters he was pushed to open the 4,000 square foot market because, “We don’t have any black supermarkets that I know of.” Customers can find “fruit, vegetables, eggs, vegan meals for the vegan community" at the store located on Cypress Creek Parkway near TC Jester; he told the station. "We have black-owned washing powder, spices, herbs, and sauces."
The entrepreneur said he is currently working with over 30 vendors to bring quality products to his shoppers.
Sparkle Johnson, the co-owner of Arousing Aromas and one of the many businesses working with Thomas, sells 100% coconut soy candles. “We also have enticing essentials bath salts. We also have wax warmers, wax melts, and it’s all handmade here in Houston,” Johnson told reporters.
Many vendors claimed it was difficult to get their products on shelves before Thomas’ efforts. Malcolm and Raven Wilson, who own Daranne’s, a restaurant specializing in soul food, said, “It’s been a minute.” He added, “Since we’ve been in business about 20 years.”
Thomas says he wants “to be in the runnings with HEB, Kroger, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s.” He added. “I want to get to that level, and I’m taking the black vendors with me.” He noted that when the pandemic hit in 2020, it took a toll on his business. He joked that he had no idea how he’s still managed to stay open, but he did.