“We don’t have any Black supermarkets that I know of,” Thomas told Fox26.
Thomas’ sells “fruit, vegetables, eggs, vegan meals for the vegan community,” he explained. “We have Black-owned washing powder, spices and herbs, sauces.” To boot, many of the products the business sells come from African Americans. “Right now, I have over 30 Black vendors,” Thomas added.
Many of the vendors here have supposedly tried for years, perhaps decades, to get grocers to do business with them. They include Malcolm Wilson, who owns Daranne’s with his wife, Raven.
“Whoa. It’s been a minute. Since we’ve been in business about 20 years,” the Wilsons explained.
Their business, which sells a broad mix of eggs rolls, is among Thomas’ store vendors. “This one here is our Soul Roll, which has our collard greens and smoked turkey. We have our Down South roll, which has oxtails, rice, and cabbage,” Raven Wilson stated.
Another vendor, Sparkle Johnson, co-owner of Arousing Aromas, made clear, “We sell 100% coconut soy candles. We also have enticing essentials bath salts. We also have wax warmers, wax melts, and it’s all handmade here in Houston.”
At first running as District 1960 Nightclub, Thomas owned and operated the nightclub for five years before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the business, per MSN. He remained an entrepreneur by using his passion for nutrition to create a grocery store made with the Black community in mind.
For Thomas, this is just a start as he reflected on plans for the grocery store.
“Eventually, it will just be products in here and no vendors, just a regular store,” he continued. “I want to be in the running with HEB, Kroger, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s. I want to get to that level, and I’m taking the Black vendors with me.”