EUDORA, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — The grocery store in Eudora will soon be making a return to the town which is welcome news for residents.

The Sunflower grocery store, now known as the Sunflowers Marketplace, is under new ownership. Quanika Jackson, a Eudora native, saw this urgent need to bring a store back to town and decided to purchase the building from the original owners.

“It touched my heart that the store had closed. I just felt it was time to help,” she said. “I was talking to a lot of my elders in Eudora and they said they had to travel miles away just to get an onion and some of them don’t have transportation.”

Jackson says this was a “crisis decision” that needed immediate action. For the last three weeks, she has brought contractors from Memphis, Little Rock, and Greenville Mississippi to begin a demolition project inside the building.

Currently, the project is in its beginning phases. By next week, Jackson hopes to begin exterior and interior painting and making more renovations to make some new additions inside the store.

Shoppers can expect a new look, an upgraded deli department and handicap accessible bathrooms among other improvements.

“We are in this thing. We are knee deep we are definitely proud of the stage we are in at the moment. We are amazed at how it is becoming,” Jackson said.

The store closed in January of last year. Since then, a group of former and current residents of Eudora have banned together to help residents in the town get through the food insecurity crisis.

Last June, a group of committed citizens and natives putting their heads and hands together to fill this need in the community. Raina Porchay helped to distribute 4,000 boxes on behalf of her farm through this particular project.

Also during that time, a group of residents and natives created a group called Restore Eudora.

The group solicited donations from the community through various campaigns to purchase the store and make it a community owned business. They even received offerings from people across the country. Over the course of several months, the group raised nearly $100,000.

Although, Jackson was able to go ahead and purchase the building, all of the various forms of support since the store’s closing has been a unified effort.

“We all have the same commitment and passion to work towards this common end. It is people that live in the community and don’t live there. We are all trying to pull together our resources, our talents, our money and our time with the commitment that we are going to work together to build up,” Eudora native, Terence Drew said.

“Because they are going to work on the grocery store, it frees us up to now focus on something we can continue to do to uplift the community. We are able to pivot to other projects. For example the one we are really excited about is that we want to bring in a drive in theater.”

The Restore Eudora group had a meeting last week to create a business plans for the project. The money that was raised for the store will now be used for these upcoming projects.

“Anybody who doesn’t want to be apart of it can get their money back,” he said.

Samuel Johnson says residents are excited about the store making a comeback and they are as equally excited about all of the new things that are in store.

“Everyone wants to see our community come back from all of the things that have been going wrong in the community,” Johnson said. “We are looking forward to being people on the move for the betterment of this small town.”

Jackson intends for the store to have its grand opening on July 4.

‘We plan on purchasing it and paying for it in full’ Eudora residents hope to restore grocery store that closed this year

EUDORA, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — The city of Eudora has been a food desert without its grocery that closed earlier this year but an upcoming fundraiser is hoping to change that.

“We plan on purchasing it and paying for it in full and starting another project to renovate the store,” Restore Eudora Grocery Store group member, Samuel Johnson said.

It’s been 9 months since the town’s only grocery store closed for business and it’s been quite hard for residents like Mrs. Faye Moye.

“The other day I wanted to do some smother potatoes and I had gone the day before to get groceries but I forgot to get the Irish potatoes,” Moye said.

“When I went in the kitchen and saw I didn’t have any Irish potatoes I said I’m not going to drive to Lake Village. I’m not going to drive to Oak Grove. and I’m certainly not driving to Greenville. So, my taste for the stewed potatoes had to go.”

That’s the story for so may others who have to drive over 20 miles to a grocery store and it’s especially a hassle for elderly residents who may not have transportation.

Eudora natives have tried to help as much as they can while others pulled together to restore their beloved grocery store.

Right now, they are $10,000 short of their $100,000 goal and the deadline is quickly approaching.

“Nov. 7 is the date we have to close on the purchase of this building,” Johnson said.

They say thousands across the country have already donated to what will be a community owned store but the outreach is far from over.

“We’re still reaching out to others to be apart of this. We need them. We need their help,” Erma Toney said.

They will host a telethon Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. live on their Facebook page: Restore Eudora: Community Owned Grocery Store. If you would like to donate you can visit this link or you can send donations to Eudora Restoration, Inc. PO Box 262Eudora, AR 71640.

You can also visit their website for more information or call the following organizers.

Sammy Johnson: 870-355-3625

Otis Jones: 817-233-2988

Terry Drew: 832-818-1333