North Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Residents in North Columbia are planning for a co-operative supermarket.
"This is such a huge opportunity for our community," Regina E. Williams said. "We are having something coming into our community that's going to spark a new interest in us," she said.
Williams, who is president of the Booker Washington Heights Neighborhood Association, is a part of the group spearheading the effort to create a co-operative supermarket, owned and operated by the people who live within the neighborhood.
Pearson is leading the effort. "We are in the earliest stages, the organizing phase," Wanda Pearson said.
They've got the city's support, an attorney and a name for the complex. "City Foods Co-Operative Marketplace," Pearson said.
They also have a prospective location in mind, right along West Beltline Blvd in between Outings's Barber Shop and the railroad tracks.
"It is going to be expensive and the money will come from several sources. First will be member subscriptions and we haven't yet determined what the price for that will be, but we will be working with a consultant who will help us with those numbers and we expect to have his report by the end of August," said Pearson.
They'll also need to take out loans and apply for grants, but Williams said it will all be worth it.
"It's going to change the perspective of our young people. It's going to show them what they can do as entrepreneurs and just meeting new people, living vicariously through other cultures," Williams said.
Once the supermarket opens, they hope to eventually add an urban farm, baseball field, community kitchen and more.
"You talk about a spark. I think it's a fire. It's almost an inferno in my heart," Williams said.
The group plans on opening the supermarket in 2019.