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    This Mississippi Woman Brought A Grocery Store To Her Community, Which Previously Only Had A Dollar General

    By Tomas Kassahun,


    A Mississippi woman is operating her own grocery store to bring a much-needed relief to a community that has become a food desert. Marquitrice Mangham said she became increasingly worried about her hometown, Webb, Mississippi, as people continued to face difficulties due to the lack of grocery stores and shortage of healthy food choices. Many of the residents, according to Capital B News , were traveling more than 20 miles to find the closest grocery store.

    Mangham, who left Webb in the 1990s, came back to her hometown in 2016 and inherited her family’s farm. In 2022, Mangham opened her neighborhood grocery store, Farmacy Marketplace. The Mississippi native is now selling fresh food in her 2,500-square-foot store. The wide selection of healthy food choices in the store also includes meat which comes from local farmers.

    Mangham, who is a military veteran, is one of several Black entrepreneurs nationwide who is coming up with solutions to improve food accessibility in rural communities. The Mississippi native and many of the other like-minded entrepreneurs around the country are opening grocery stores in their communities while dozens of dollar stores are closing. According to the USDA Economic Research Service , research shows that independent grocery stores are often forced to go out of business when dollar stores open in their neighborhood. The opening of dollar stores in neighborhoods that are low-income, rural, and Black leads to a decline in employment and sales for independent stores, the USDA report states.

    Mangham opened her store shortly before the only Dollar General in Webb burned down. The loss of the Dollar General opened an opportunity for Mangham to sell home goods in addition to groceries. However, the Dollar General has now reopened.

    Mangham opened her grocery store as a branch of her nonprofit organization, Her Shoes Inc. According to Mangham, the nonprofit “works with farmers who are growing, but not able to reach those populations that need it.”

    “Because the populations are sparsely populated, everything is stretched out over 600 square miles,” Mangham told Capital B. “They’re throwing their hard-earned food away because it’s rotting, meeting its shelf life prior to them actually being able to sell it or reach people who want to buy it. The grocery store was the answer to a number of things.”

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