North Baton Rouge community celebrates grand opening of new grocery store

SCOTLANDVILLE, La. (BRPROUD) — The North Baton Rouge residents welcomed a new store, the Scotlandville Bodega, to the area.

This new addition to the city is continuing to push forward in ending the food desert crisis in the area.

“It’s a building in the community now that once was blighted, that is now a place for the community to come and shop and fellowship and buy and enjoy food,” said Dr. James Gilmore, Jr., board member for the Baton Rouge North Economic Development District.

Many city officials attended the grand opening, including Councilwoman Chauna Banks of District 2 and Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome. They feel that the impact of the new store will be a life changer and a great asset to the community.

“This is a testament of the owners who are a part of the fabric of our community that they recognize the need and they responded to the needs,” said Broome.

New grocery store set to be built in North Baton Rouge

Michael and Kenya Byrd are the owners of the new bodega. Both being residents of Scotlandville, they recognized and saw the urgent need for stores like this in the area.

“There’s really not many options for nutritious food, so we wanted to change that,” said Byrd.

Kenya is a teacher at Scotlandville High School and says that she also wanted to open a store like this for the children that she teaches and to show them that it’s okay to have access to healthier food options. This decision was made as a team effort.

“My husband had he really had that vision, you know, when he saw it, he knew, you know, what he wanted to do with it,” said Byrd.

They bought the store in November of 2023 and opened its doors on Feb.19. This event was a special occasion as the official ribbon cutting took place, and March 9 was declared National Scotlandville Bodega Day by Councilwoman Banks.

The bodega serves as a convenience store and meat market. They will serve fresh produce from farm to table, hot cooked meals and plate lunches, and other household items that residents can buy just minutes from their homes. The bodega is also located right down the street from Southern University at 8818 Scotland Avenue, which allows the students to be able to walk to the store with ease.

Byrd wants to continue to help the community in every way possible to have access to the same food items as other areas.

“It is very important to have those things available and accessible in this community,” said Byrd.

The Byrd family was given a $1,500 check from the city and mayor and a $6,500 check from the Baton Rouge North Economic Development District to contribute to the Scotlandville Bodega.

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