A corner grocery for Brady Heights

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There's an exciting article in the latest Urban Tulsa Weekly about an effort by my friends Justin and Leah Pickard to establish a small neighborhood grocery in the Brady Heights neighborhood in a 1920s building on Latimer between Cheyenne and Denver Aves. (So strictly speaking, it's not on a corner.)

Pickard described herself and her husband as community activists and Christians who are interested in a number of social issues, including the inaccessibility of affordable, healthy food for many north Tulsans and the lack of affordable home ownership options for those in low-income areas. The opportunity to open a corner market offering fresh, nutritious food was one they simply couldn't pass up, she said.

Pickard said she and her husband were educated about many of the problems facing north Tulsa by neighborhood activist Demalda Newsome of the North Tulsa Farmers Market. She said they are opening the market to help resolve some of those issues and not because they consider it a good economic opportunity.

"Oh, definitely--we're keeping our day jobs," she said. "I'm actually a stay-at-home mom most of the time, and (the store) is right around the corner from our house, so it'll be easy to get over there. But we'll be hiring people to work there because we wanted to create jobs. We wanted to have the opportunity to create employment."...

"We're going to offer healthy food, lots of organic food and lots of local stuff," Pickard said. "We're going to stay away from unhealthy food. If a (convenience store) carries it, we won't. In fact, there's one at Pine and Cincinnati near here. If people want junk food, they can go there."

Pickard said the building has two storefronts, and they will be leasing space to a neighbor who wants to open a coffeehouse on one side.

"She's ready to go," she said.

Pickard said she and her husband also are working with NTEDI to establish a distribution warehouse available to small, independent markets, so the owners can band together and place their orders from wholesalers in bulk, passing the savings along to customers. That will help make fresh, wholesome food affordable to all, she believes.

Justin's brother and sister-in-law, Nathan and Kristin Pickard, are also very active residents of Brady Heights. Nathan recently served as president of the neighborhood association, both Nathan and Kristin serve on the board, and they host occasional house concerts for musicians passing through Tulsa.

The Pickards are a wonderful family, and I know they will put a lot of sweat equity and a lot of love into this project, as they already have in the Brady Heights neighborhood. It will be exciting to see this project come to fruition.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on December 3, 2009 12:35 AM.

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