A community corner store will aid Soulsville's food desert status.
In mid-September, Hanan Hishe will re-open the dormant In & Out Market corner store at 745 East McLemore Avenue as the Soulsville Market. The shop closed in 2015.
Hishe’s husband, Kalid J. Ibrahim, owns another store just down the street, the Neighborhood Grocery at 1362 South Main Street.
“We know the area very well, and we know the previous two owners,” said Hishe. “We love this area, and I love art so we plan to change up the outside of the building with some new artwork.”
Interior improvements to the Soulsville Market are underway and exterior work will begin after the store opens.
Offerings at the market will be similar to what was previously available, according to Hishe. Hot food like burgers, chicken wings and fries will be made onsite and fresh produce and convenience items will also be sold.
“That’s how the owners before us had it and their food was very popular to the area, so we want to keep that going,” said Hishe, who plans to target both customers from the neighborhood and visitors to the Stax Museum of American Soul Music.
Hishe applied for assistance from the Memphis-Shelby County Economic Development Growth Engine to help with façade repair, HVAC and roof repair, and interior improvements including new flooring, lighting and electrical wiring. She received a $20,000 ICED Loan and total renovation costs are estimated near $37,000.
Ibrahim also received an EDGE loan earlier this year to help rehab his historic property at 1362 South Main Street, which he has owned and operated for more than a decade. Both projects involve rehabilitating long-vacant retail structures in New Markets Tax Credit eligible census tracts.
Hishe plans to hire at least four people from the neighborhood to work in the store, which will be open seven days a week.
“We’ve been here for a long time [with the Neighborhood Grocery], so we really care about the area. We want to do whatever we can to help the local residents,” said Hishe.