JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The community is rallying behind a black-owned wholesale food store in Northeast Florida that’s been recovering from hardships, including legal issues.
The MainStreet Wholesale Grocery Supply has been a staple in Jacksonville’s Urban Core for decades. In addition to a legal battle, the food store has been repairing damage from Hurricane Irma.
Fourteen years ago, Marie Charlemagne fought to keep MainStreet Wholesale alive, becoming its owner and preventing the store from turning into a tobacco shop.
“Since this has been here for 65 years in this community, the black community, we wanted it to stay," Charlemagne said.
The wholesale food store said it is the only black-owned business of its kind in Northeast Florida. It’s open to the public, and it is where many local small businesses in town buy snacks, candy and supplies.
The dream of running the store hasn’t been easy for Charlemagne. Records show the store was accused of misappropriation of food stamp funds and organized fraud, but in 2017, a jury found the store not guilty and all charges were dropped.
“Now, we are starting over,” Charlemagne said.