Utica residents welcome first grocery store in five years

Residents have had to travel to other cities to get their basic meats and produce.
Updated: Sep. 29, 2019 at 8:06 PM CDT
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UTICA, Miss. (WLBT) - Main Street Market sits in Downtown Utica. The store front opened Saturday and customers rejoiced during their grand opening.

“It’s just something we’ve been praying for and we’re very excited about it," said Judy Walker, a Utica resident of over 40 years.

The market is owned by Juanita Davis and her family. Their goal is to save their food desert community and promote wellness with affordably priced goods.

“So we’ve been altogether about 6 months, planning and trying to get everything together and still working on tying up some loose ends,” said Davis.

The owners finished stocking items and adding price tags before customers took a look inside.

“They have things you can use immediately. That you don’t have to make a trip, pack your family up and go to a major grocery store,” said Patty Patterson. She traveled from Jackson to show support and is aware of Utica’s blight.

“It’s a blessing. It’s a blessing to know that people can eat where they live. They don’t have to go far to get food to cook a meal for their families," said Patterson.

For 5 years, Utica has not had a real grocery store.

Produce available at Main Street Market in Utica
Produce available at Main Street Market in Utica(WLBT)

“We have other stores that provide basic needs but as far as the fresh produce and the meats, it’s not as much as it needs to be,” said Davis.

So George and Judy Walker, who live down the road, have had to travel for the basic foods.

“We have to drive to Vicksburg, Clinton, or Jackson or Byram or Hazelhurst and you know, we’re right down the street. So to be able to run up here and get milk and bread,” said Judy; “I’ve noticed they’ve gotta lot of produce and that’s great too. I have lemons."

As the business grows, Davis wants to expand her services in the community and “provide some delivery type services to some of the seniors because transportation sometimes is a problem in Utica.”

The owners have also taken recommendations from residents to make the store even better.

“Well I asked them to add Ice Cream to their stock list because I can’t buy him ice cream and get it home before it melts," said Judy.

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