HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — The wait is soon to be over for lovers of home-grown groceries in Huntsville.
Oakwood Farms Market is set to operate full time after its grand opening. The new grocery store is owned by Oakwood University, a Historically Black Seventh-Day Adventist University. Leaders say this has been a long time in the making to serve the community with the ultimate shopping experience.
"President Pollard, when he came in 2011, said his vision for 2020 was Oakwood would return to its roots and recover its industry base," says Oakwood University Chief Financial Officer & Industry Recovery, Sabrina Cotton.
For Pollard, Cotton, and many others, that vision is now a reality.
General Manager Bryan Landers says the market includes 'Fresh Produce', a 'Wellness Zone', and 'Bulk Goods'.
"Really, I think what we pride ourselves on is being able to go to different local communities, local farms and being able to procure those inventories," says Landers.
Landers says the grocery store has also taken extra precaution during the pandemic. "We have the joy of having an actual closed room where we have an attendant that can package your bulk goods for you."
Two people are allowed in at a time, and customers can request what they want packaged with the help of attendants wearing face masks and gloves.
Grocery carts are also sanitized after use, and shield guards are installed at the registers.
Shoppers can also buy hot meals and baked goods from the Treehouse Bistro and Oaktree Bistro that has a walk up window.
The menu is comprised of vegan and vegetarian food for breakfast and lunch. Bistro General Manager and Oakwood Alumnus, John DeSouza, says some of their featured items include paninis.
"That history that we have at Oakwood University starts in our cafeteria and it goes to our snack-bar area, and this is just an extension of that, but with more flair," says DeSouza.
Oakwood University students are also employed at the store with scholarship opportunities. Cotton believes the market is more than just a place to shop for produce, but a staple in the community.
"It's grown in our community for our community, and we're excited to bring this opportunity to the Black community, and to the greater Huntsville community," says Cotton.
Shoppers are currently experiencing the pre-grand opening, however the 'Grand Opening Event' will be on Wednesday, June 24th at 8 a.m.
Below are the store hours after the grand opening:
Monday - Thursday: (8 a.m. - 8 p.m.)
Friday: (8 a.m. - 5 p.m. - Summer)
(8 a.m. - 3 p.m. - Fall/Winter)
Sunday: (10 a.m. - 7 p.m.)