HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Dr. Charles F. Baugham Sr. has lived on the east side of Henrico County off Azalea Avenue for more than 40 years. He’s seen businesses of all industries come and go — but when a grocery store is one of those businesses to leave, it brings stress to the community.
That was case for his neighborhood most recently when Food Rite on Richmond Henrico Turnpike left.
“You need somewhere convenient to go get some milk, eggs and bread,” Baugham said. “And for about three or four months now that has not been available for those who live in this neighborhood.”
His neighborhood is considered to be a food desert, which is an urban area where it’s difficult to buy affordable or good-quality fresh food.
Baugham said he can’t imagine how difficult is is for people who don’t have their own form of transportation to get groceries.
“Some of these folks have to walk so far,” he said. “They have to walk miles in order to get to fresh food. We used to have one up the street, but they haven’t been there in months.”
Tyra Gallagher, who works at a dialysis center right up the street, said she’s seen first hand what Baugham is referring to.
“A lot of my patients struggle with being able to get the proper food they need,” she said. “We’ve seen the disparities that Black and brown people face looking for clean, safe, and fresh produce in this area. That’s why we’re here.”
So, seeing their community struggle, Gallagher and Renee Truehart decided to take matters into their own hands. The mother and daughter duo are opening Darrell’s Family Supermarket later this year in Food Rite’s old location off Azalea Avenue.
The business is named after the Truehart’s younger brother who died last month. She said giving the business his namesake is a way for him to be a part of the new family venture.
Truehart said owning a grocery store has always been a dream of hers.
“I always wanted to have a grocery store and my family always supports me,” she said. “Even during the pandemic, this is a way for us to give back to the community.”
The new business owners said the store will offer everything a traditional grocery store provides. However, they’ll have some things unique to them.
“We want you to come in and get your fresh produce, milk, and pork chops if that’s what you want,” Gallagher said. “We’ll have space for vendors to come and sell their products, we want everyone to win.”
When Charles Baugham found out another supermarket was coming back to his neighborhood, he said he couldn’t have been happier.
Truehart expects the supermarket to be open in December. For more information on Darrell’s Family Supermarket, visit their Facebook page.
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