In November, District Market is celebrating its one-year anniversary since opening on FM 1960. Earlier than founding District Market, Thomas stated he frequented native pop-ups and was struck by the variety of nice Black-owned manufacturers that weren’t bought in nationwide chain shops.
“I’m like, ‘Why [are] none of those merchandise within the retailer? I have to make the shop,’” Thomas stated.
District Market sells produce, snacks, drinks, baked items, spices, cosmetics and clothes. A few of Thomas’ bestsellers are sea moss, which is used for holistic functions; oyster mushrooms; spelt bread; and artisan water.
To seek out out what merchandise can be widespread in the neighborhood, Thomas stated he does analysis on social media.
“I don’t must compete with the opposite markets as a result of I can import particular merchandise that the neighborhood wants however [are] not straightforward to seek out,” Thomas stated. “That’s form of given me a distinct segment.”
Sooner or later, Thomas stated he hopes to transform the second ground of his retailer to show it right into a espresso bar and Wi-Fi lounge space.
He stated he additionally hopes to serve meals deserts throughout the U.S. by opening extra areas in communities in want of extra grocery shops.
“Somebody must be dedicated to being within the communities that need assistance,” Thomas stated.
To attain his dream of serving meals deserts, Thomas stated he plans to supply alternatives for members of the neighborhood to put money into District Market and purchase shares of his firm. Initially from Brooklyn, New York, Thomas stated he’s keen about serving meals deserts as a result of he grew up in a single.
“[District Market] may be accessible to individuals,” Thomas stated. “[People living in food deserts] can really feel like they’re a part of America in these areas; like everybody else, they [can] have entry to issues proper subsequent to them.”
Thomas determined to open District Market after his nightclub—District 1960, which was positioned the place the grocery retailer is now—closed as a result of coronavirus pandemic. Thomas additionally beforehand ran a restaurant, he stated.
During the last 12 months, Thomas stated he has struggled with inflation and elevated prices of the products he sells, however that situation has improved in current months. Regardless of obstacles offered by the pandemic, the local people has continued to help District Market, Thomas stated, with some members even volunteering to assist run the shop.
“The neighborhood nonetheless comes by and helps what I’m doing. … Possibly they don’t have as a lot to spend at instances, however they nonetheless come,” Thomas stated. “I’m very appreciative of that.”
3337 FM 1960 W., Ste. A, Houston
Hours: Tue.-Sat. 10 a.m.-8 p.m., closed Solar.-Mon.
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