Josh Southers has been busy restocking products on the shelves of the new southern Dallas grocery store, Food Basket.
Patrons are buying groceries almost as fast as he can replenish them.
“It’s flying off the shelves,” Southers, the store director, said. “We’re barely able to keep up with how much stuff we’re selling – fresh produce, meat, bread, eggs, milk – all the fresh stuff is flying off faster than we can get them on the shelves.”
That’s how great the need is.
Located in Highland Hills, the 15,000-square foot store fills a void: It is in the middle of a food desert. The next closest grocery store is about 5 miles away. The new business had a soft opening on Jan. 14 to work out the kinks, and its grand opening was Tuesday.
Since then, customers have been thanking Southers and other employees for the new store. George Smith was one of these customers.
“I came to the old store, and it was messed up,” Smith said. “This is the cleanest store. They’ve made this a beautiful store.”
Food Basket acquired the property of a former city-invested grocery store, Save U More, which closed during the pandemic, a critical time. The owner at that time had no experience in grocery store management. Food Basket owners are confident that will not happen again.
“I’ve been doing this for 29 years,” Southers said. “I’m going to make it.”
Food Basket LLC now owns the property. It is owned by the same family as A & S Supermarkets, which owns four Cash Savers in the Dallas-area, including the one about 5 miles away.
If it does not keep its doors open for the next five years and nine months, Food Basket will pay the city $2.8 million, which is what the city previously invested in the building in taxpayer money.
“They know the grocery store business,” District 8 Councilman Tennell Atkins said. “They took on a liability from the previous owner.”
Southers said that they now hope to hire more from the community to meet the demand. The store currently has 17 employees, but needs about 10 more to run smoothly.
Atkins has been fighting for a grocery store in this area — which has a population of about 20,000 — since the Save U More closed in 2021.
“We went through a situation where we went two years without a grocery store,” Atkins said. “For two years people have been asking for a grocery store.”
Rene Fields said she usually gets groceries from DeSoto, which is about 15 minutes away. Now, she’s excited to only have to drive two minutes for fresh food.
“A good quality store is what we needed in this neighborhood,” Fields said. “They give you the choices between name brand (items) and the lower-priced brands. You have that variety that the big grocery stores have.”
Food Basket is located at 3540 Simpson Stuart Road and is open every day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.