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Black-Owned Groceries and More Opens at 78th and Cottage Grove

By Wendell Hutson | November 30, 2012 10:18pm

GRAND CROSSING — Groceries and More is a new convenience store that sells everything from canned goods and hot dogs to electronics and household products.

But what brings Linda Washington, 40, back each week is the collection of movies it sells.

"They got all the great movies here at good prices," an excited Washington said as she whisked through the aisles searching for flicks. "I live three blocks away but don't mind walking here because it is worth it."

The independent music writer and producer added that she also likes shopping at the store because it is black-owned.

"I am a supporter of black businesses," she added. "Now you have two black businesses on Cottage Grove."

Located across the street from Groceries and More at 7801 S. Cottage Grove Ave. is Leak and Sons Funeral Home, which is also black-owned.

Since its August opening, the store has done brisk sales and manager Lee McGray said he expects even more business once the store is approved by the state to start accepting Link cards.

"We already accept credit cards but are waiting to get our Link card machine, which we hope will happen before Christmas," he said. "A lot of our customers are single mothers receiving public assistance and we want to be able to service them, too."

The store, which currently employs three people, is open from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sundays. McGray said as business improves it is his goal to hire more people from the neighborhood.

"That is one of things we want to be able to offer this community and that's jobs. Look for that 'item' to be available soon," he added.

Prices at the 5,000-square-foot store range from $1 to $300. McGray said by January, meats and fresh produce will be available. For now, only canned meats and deli items, such as lunch meat, are sold.

Competing against other convenience stores, such as Dollar General, is not a worry for McGray.

"Dollar stores do not offer the friendly atmosphere we offer here. When you shop here, you are more than a number but a valued customer treated with dignity and respect," added McGray.