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North Lawndale About To Get Its First Black-Owned Grocery Store, With Plans For Farmers' Market; 'This Gives Hope To Our Community'

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Coming soon to North Lawndale, a one-of-a-kind grocery store in an area that needs it more than most.

As CBS 2 Morning Insider Marissa Parra reports, in North Lawndale, an empty space is full of dreams

Albert Person and Kandis William want to turn a vacant storefront at 628 S. Pulaski Rd. into North Lawndale Fresh Meat & Produce Market, the neighborhood's only Black-owned grocery store.

"We have to go long miles to get fresh fruit, fresh produce, fresh all of that for our neighborhood; and that's unacceptable for this area," Williams said.

It was a problem made worse by 2020.

"During the George Floyd riots, people didn't have any place to eat; and even before then, with the few stores that we did have, no one offered fresh produce, fresh meat, wholesome meals," Person said.

Anger turned to action, and Person turned his plans for an events space into plans for a food space: the North Lawndale Fresh Meat & Produce Market.

"It's about being a family, and being there for our people," he said.

The last few months have been spent getting their permits, readying the space, and ordering their inventory.

They've reached out to Black farmers and suppliers from around the city and country, in hopes of sourcing from majority Black-owned businesses

"If we don't do something for ourselves, we see from the George Floyd riots that no one will," Person said.

With their debut on the horizon, they hope the store will nourish Chicagoans in more ways than one.

"The number one word for it is hope. This gives hope to our community. We're able to open this store. This is only the beginning," Williams said.

Hoping to open sometime mid-February, they're already mapping out plans for a farmers' market that will go in the lot behind the new grocery at 628 S. Pulaski Rd.

They're aiming to source at least 85% of their food from black suppliers and farmers

They've also set up a GoFundMe page, with the goal of raising $200,000.

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