New East Nashville grocery store offers majority local products

Porter Road Grocery.jpeg
Posted at 5:53 PM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-04 09:55:32-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — From locally-grown produce to Tennessee-made sauces, there's a little bit of everything on the shelves at a new grocery store in East Nashville.

Porter Road Grocery only opened in April, and owner Jim Douglas is already looking to expand into other areas of Nashville and Middle Tennessee.

A store in Murfreesboro off of Maney Avenue will open this summer, and Douglas is looking for locations in North Nashville, Eighth Avenue, and out in Triune and Wartrace.

"It's a food desert and you have people that have not been subjected to the quality that they could have. But if you look at somewhere like here, East Nashville, Eighth Avenue, Truine area — those aren't really food deserts in the greater sense because there's a Kroger, Publix there. But what we do have is a lack of representation for companies like this," said Douglas.

Douglas said about 80% of the products in his stores are either local to the Tennessee area, or they're local to areas that he lived in before moving back to Tennessee.

"I'm just a Southern person and what I like more than anything is to support other small businesses. So, this is what this is in the end," Douglas said.

Douglas, who works in the hemp and cannabis industries, got the idea to open this store during his time working at farmers' markets and the Tennessee Grocers and Convenience Store Association.

There, he said he learned just how hard and expensive it is for local products to make it to store shelves.

"I got to know a lot of these brand owners and saw how they were trying to get into larger stores, but how they're hitting so many walls in the form of production scale, and like their availability to basically, to give product to stores like Kroger is $100,000, $200,000 at a time," said Douglas. "After a couple of years of participating in that industry, I decided to take it upon myself to open local markets, and that was a huge motivation behind it."

Douglas is excited about this investment and said not every store will carry the same products. He said it will depend a lot on the need of the community.

"Other stores will be more produce, quality of meat driven, and quality of like, more bulk product that people can purchase — people with families, lower-income housing, things like that," he said.

Douglas said that meats like pork were raised and butchered locally. He said the intended goal long-term is for all the stores to process all the meat.

"A fresher choice, a higher quality. You know, not everybody can make it to the farmers' markets, and these people do such a good job with their products. Their sales shouldn't stop at the farmers' market," he said.

Douglas said the best way to reach out to him to get your products in his stores is by sending him a message on Instagram.