COLUMBUS, Ohio — You ever hear of the name Roger Bannister? He did something that, for the longest time, no one thought was possible. In 1954 he ran and broke the four-minute mile.
Michael Young knows the impossible is meant to be broken. A new grocery store on East Fifth Avenue is his four-minute mile.
“Not only are we meeting peoples’ practical needs, but it’s us supporting, serving our culture and our community so we take great pride in that,” Young said.
Young is a pastor at Columbus’s City of Grace Church. He, Juana Williams, Shaundretta Boykins and Tiffany Harris are celebrating a moment that’s not really theirs.
It started after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and during protests, riots and marches, Boykins says they noticed another movement; Blacks supporting Blacks.
One of the most requested needs they saw was for a grocery store.
That led them to East Fifth Avenue in Columbus. The ‘For Sale’ sign in the window caught the attention and enthusiasm of 18 investors to create something new.
“Culture Market” is the city’s third Black-owned grocery store and the first in the last 25 years. From the first day to signing day it was up-and-running in less than two months.
“I think, altogether, it says that we can do it,” Harris said. “I think it’s a misjudgment that Blacks don’t work together as a unified group so this is just an example that we can do it and we will do it if we have like-minded people to do it.”
A fast turnaround for potentially turning around an all but forgotten area.
“It definitely is,” Boykins said. “But when you get individuals who are like-minded, there’s a brain trust and the mission is bigger than the man, then it goes fast.”
Almost as fast as Roger Bannister running that four-miler. A comparison that Young was quick to mention.
“I think what this group of investors has done is we’ve proven that it is possible,” Young said.
It’s possible, in the midst of a pandemic, racial divide and tension that communities can help and uplift one another proving if we keep pushing we all can break that four-minute mile.
The “Culture Market” also provides financial services for the community and looks to put in a pharmacy to help cut down on travel time and cost for prescriptions for the elderly. It also plans on expanding into other areas with satellite mini-marts.