With no fanfare or celebration, the One Stop Shop, the only grocery store in the Westside community, opened this week.
"I'm just glad to be in business," said Moe Saleh, the store's owner and manager.
The opening date was Wednesday about 11 a.m., roughly the time the city building inspector gave Saleh his certificate of occupancy.
The store's business hours are 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. So far, it has 10 aisles with drinks, chips, bread, pastries, canned goods, toiletries, baby products and cleaning supplies.
Only two-thirds of the business is in place, said Saleh. Within a week, he said he expects to have the products for a hair care section.
A fruit stand is coming in about three weeks, he said, and he hopes to have fresh meat and a butcher section by the end of the year. The fresh meat area will take longer because it requires another inspection, he said.
He expects to start selling beer in a month and accepting EBT cards by the end of October.
"It took some time, but now I'm in business and everybody is coming in smiling," said Saleh.
No store has been in the Westside since the Dollar General closed in fall 2010. To get groceries, some Westside residents -- a community of about 3,000 people -- had to walk to Buehler's Food Market about 11/2 miles away downtown.
It's a tough trip when carrying groceries, said An'Drew Shepheard, a College Hill Courts resident of 10 years. It's even harder for elderly people who must navigate their wheelchairs through traffic while carrying groceries, he said.
Dorothea Morris, a Westside resident of nearly 50 years, came to the store Thursday to buy groceries and to look for a job.
"I'm glad we have a store," she said. "It's getting cold, and it's going to be more convenient."
According to former Westside resident Bobby Paris, the community hasn't had a full-service grocery since Sherman's Westside Grocery Store, which opened in the 1980s and closed in the early 1990s.
Saleh signed a lease agreement with the center's owner, New York-based Countrywide Consultants, in October 2011. The store previously was scheduled to open in May, but Saleh said it took him more time than he expected to get the products he needed and meet all the building codes.
Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...