The moment you walk through the door, the delicious smells from the freshly prepared deli offerings, the cleanliness of the store, and the warm and friendly smiles of the employees immediately overtake your senses and draw you into Legends Market.
Since it opened in late June of this year, Legends Market, the first full-service grocery store in Grambling in thirty-five years, is already reshaping the city’s retail landscape and improving its economy.
The supermarket, which boasts a bakery, deli and a recently-opened pharmacy, has increased the city’s revenue through sales taxes.
“The more the citizens and students patronize Legends Market and all of the other businesses in our city, the more sales-tax dollars we will receive,” said Mayor Edward Jones.
These additional dollars allow the city to improve its public services, repair streets, create more jobs, and ultimately, lower property taxes.
Jones added that some of those funds will also help the city to lower its general fund deficit.
Legends Market, along with the other businesses in Legends Plaza – Dollar Tree and Hibbett Sports – has also made shopping for food and other necessities more convenient for the city’s residents and students enrolled at Grambling State University. Considering that the city has a substantial elderly population, having a full-service grocery store in the community is a godsend.
“Legends Market is a much needed addition to our community,” said Grambling native Joyce Osborne. “Not having to go out of town to buy groceries is truly a blessing, especially for persons like me who don’t always want to travel to another town to shop.” Osborne frequents the market at least two to three times a week.
And as is the case with most small cities and towns with a grocery store, Legends Market serves as a social hub where residents have the opportunity to meet and greet fellow citizens and persons from neighboring towns.
For Mrs. Rosena Bowman, her first trip to the grocery story was an adventure. Because of her health, Bowman, who has lived in Grambling since 1964, was restricted from driving.
But she admits that, unbeknown to her daughters, she sneaked and drove to the store, where she was given special attention by the deli staff.
“They went above and beyond to prepare my food in the proper portions and assisted me in every other way possible. I love shopping at Legends,” she said.
Currently, Legends Market employs 43 persons, twenty-two of whom are GSU students. And for Lauren Weaver and other students working there, being employed at Legends gives them the additional funds needed for school.
“I enjoy my job at Legends,” said Weaver, who is the customer service manager and serves as a liaison between the supermarket and the university. “I like the fact that I can work in my community and reconnect with the residents, many of whom I hadn’t seen in years.
Lauren was the first to be elected as “Employee of the Month” at Legends. Each department – deli, bakery, produce and meat – is headed by a local resident.
Shay Torbor, whose deli offerings attract the most customers, thoroughly enjoys her job. “My staff and I appreciate the customers’ responses to their various offerings, especially such specialty items such as crawfish cornbread and eggplant dressing.” The deli offers hot and tasty breakfast, lunch and dinner selections, and catering for holidays and other special occasions.
Robert Price has noticed an increase in sales since adding the “Pick 5” option in the meat department. “Our items are always fresh and we offer some of the best cuts in both beef and pork,” he said.
This explains why his department receives so many compliments from shoppers.
According to department manager Charlene Turner, the deli is the best in the area. “We bake our goods daily, and our decorators are among the best in the business,” she boasts.
And no one will disagree with produce manager Mary Walker who contends that the fruits and vegetables are always fresh and pleasing to the eye as well as the palate. “I have learned so much since I started working here,” Turner said. “I really enjoy my job.”
Despite the good that Legends Market brings to the city, there remains the question of whether or not the prices are comparable to those at supermarkets in neighboring areas. “We have done price comparisons with stores in Ruston,” said Renee’ Duff, store manager. “And we found that while some of our prices are higher, many of our 8,000 items are priced lower or are comparable to those in Ruston.” Duff said that business has been steady; and the more people shop at Legends, the more likely they will be to lower the prices of other items.
“Considering the time shoppers will realize that they save in the long run. Also, the store has added several money-saving incentives to attract more patrons.
“We are here to serve this community,” Duff said. “And we are always seeking ways in which we can better serve our patrons.” Duff added that citizens can make requests that products not currently carried be added to the store’s inventory. “If it’s a popular item that our shoppers want, we will make every effort to get it..”
Mary Gipson, who recently retired from GSU, considers the new grocery store as “the best thing to happen in Grambling in thirty-five years.”
“I love shopping here,” she said. “It is convenient, the prices are comparative to other area supermarkets, the employees are friendly and professional, and the store is always so clean and organized.”
In addition to the bakery and the deli, the supermarket also has a pharmacy that is owned and operated by Dr. Materra Comer, an African-American clinical pharmacist from Jackson, Mississippi. Comer’s husband, Brandon Comer, CEO and managing partner with the Comer Capital Group, was a consultant on the Legends Plaza project.
As the first new commercial investment in Grambling in a few years, Legends Market, along with the other businesses in the Plaza, represents the kind of progress that will ensure that the City of Grambling continues to thrive and to provide the goods and services needed for its residents to enjoy an enhanced way of life.