Grocery Stores Meeting Demands in Downtown Lynchburg

Lynchburg, VA- If you build it, they will come. Well it's sort of been the other way around for grocery stores in downtown Lynchburg. The community there has grown so much, residents have requested a grocery store. And they got it.

Hannah's Health on Main Street has been open for a month now, and business is good. It's a completely organic store. Owner Shelley Fendlay says the products on her shelves are sparse at the moment. But in the next several weeks, she hopes to bring in produce, meat and anything else customers might want. It's all to meet the demands of folks downtown.

"It just had a good energy about it," said Shelley Fendlay, owner of Hannah's Health.

"I live down here, so I see how it's growing. A lot of people around other parts of Lynchburg don't think downtown is growing, but it is," she said.

She says downtown's "good energy" needed some nourishment. It's been more than 30 years since a grocery store set up shop there.

"This is a great sign for downtown. It really means that there is a market here for this type of service and that people are coming downtown as a destination to do their shopping," said Anna Bentson, Executive Director of Lynch's Landing.

Others have tried to provide the service, but found there wasn't much of a need for it--until now.

"That was three years ago and there are a lot more people that have moved downtown and I think, you know there certainly have been a lot of residents saying that what downtown really needs is a grocery store," said Rodney Taylor, Owner of Market at Main.

"We do think the influx of residents downtown is a reason for a grocery store to make that decision to come downtown because they have a built-in market right here," said Bentson.

And as downtown continues to grow, so will residents' demands.

"There are several developments in the works at the moment and on the horizon," said Bentson.

Like another full service grocery store coming in the Spring, making its home on Main Street as well.

"We're going to have a little food area, which actually satisfies what downtown Lynchburg has been called--a food desert. So we'll have the community market and its local vendors, the health food store, and a full service grocery as well," said Bentson.

Hannah's Health is right down the street from the Community Market, and they both offer organic foods. But everyone we spoke with says the two businesses will not compete with each other, only complement each other.