Read the full article by J.B. Smith of the Waco Herald-Tribune followed by analysis from Austin Meek of Waco Business News
Nancy Grayson, owner of Lula Jane's and founder of the Rapoport Academy, continues to give to East Waco in her own unique way.
Her food market concept has been brewing for quite some time, as J.B. Smith's article points out. Dr. Marlene Reed, who runs the Business Excellence Scholarship Team program through Baylor's business school, spoke about her students working on an Elm Avenue grocery plan when she joined me on Downtown Depot in November 2016.
"One of my desires is that [the B.E.S.T. students] will actually be able to put into play what they are learning in the classroom," said Dr. Reed during our conversation. This is a fabulous opportunity for education and entrepreneurship to collide, and the chance to learn from a seasoned community developer like Nancy Grayson will no doubt be relished by Reed's students.
Working with a little over 7100 SF, Nancy will be able to supply the neighborhood with the fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats that residents so desperately need to complete a healthful diet. Combatting food deserts like the one in East Waco has been a longtime mission of Jimmy Dorrell, a Downtown Depot guest last month, which he solved with the creation of the Jubilee Food Mart in North Waco. Grayson's Elm Avenue Food Market should have a similarly positive impact on the east side.
In my view, Grayson's announcement of the food market on the heels of the demise of her cottage project is not unrelated. Grayson decided of her own volition to not move forward with the cottages on Elm and Tyler Streets because she didn't feel like the City supported it. Addressing the public health with a grocery store, rather than out of town visitors with short term cottage rentals, is sure to excite City officials. I, for one, have advocated for a food market in East Waco for years and can not imagine a better candidate for the job than Nancy Grayson.