PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A new grocery/convenience store is set to open on Peoria’s south end in just a few days, giving residents closer access to food.
The owners, Shonta and Willie Simmons, said they’re looking to fill certain voids in the area. Shonta said after knowing and learning Peoria throughout the years, they wanted to do something different.
“We understood the different mindset that we wanted to bring back to the community,” Shonta Simmons, owner, said. “We realized that as things were leaving the southside what could we do, not being from here now, to bring back to revitalize this area.”
This new market also isn’t the Simmons’ first venture on the city’s southside.
Back in July, they opened TNT Outlet, a convenience store located at 2203 SW Jefferson Ave. Now, the couple is welcoming N & Out Market on 304 S Western Avenue.
“It’s kind of a passion that we’ve had and talked about for years,” Simmons said.
The market is located in an area typically described as a food desert. Simmons said they wanted to provide residents with closer access to groceries, convenient food items, lottery, and EBT services.
“COVID has changed a lot for people and access to food, not just any kind of food, low priced, quality food is important to us and this area as well,” Simmons said. “We wanted to give the community something they’d been desiring and wanting and yearning to have for a long time.”
The market is also located just a few feet away from the building that was previously an ALDI and Save-A-Lot. Simmons said they’re also working with the local health department to open up a kitchen in the market, so they can offer the community fish, chicken, and funnel cakes.
Neighbors in the area said the convenient location is definitely satisfying a need in the area.
“It would be great, and it’d save a lot of time traveling all the way across town, especially in the wintertime, Anthony Jones, Southside resident, said. “They need something over there because we have to travel all the way across town or to East Peoria to get anything.”
“I think it’s really a great idea, it’d make it a lot more convenient for everyone,” Denayer Artis, a southside resident, said. “We’ve had to go way out to Krogers or Haddad’s, so I think it’s a great, great thing.”
Simmons also said building up the community is a passion of theirs and, all in all, they want to provide the residents with hope.
“Hope is so important in today’s society so when people see that ‘hey, they are able to do this thing,’ it’s something that hopefully the youth can come back and say ‘if they can do it, I can do it as well,’ Simmons said.
She said they’re looking at Sunday, July 12 to have a soft opening and grand opening within the next two weeks.