The Store is inspired by Unity Shoppe, located in Santa Barbara, California. Unity Shoppe has been helping families in the community for more than 100 years. Brad Paisley and Kimberly Williams-Paisley first visited Unity Shoppe with their sons. "We took our boys to Unity Shoppe to teach them about serving other and giving back to people in need," says Paisley. "And we came away surprised by what the organization had taught us. Most people don't want handouts. They want dignity and respect. Most people want to become self-sufficient." They were so inspired by the way Unity Shoppe empowers people, including volunteers, that they wanted to expand on that model here in Nashville. The Store is its own unique spin on a free grocery store that offers a healthy food shopping experience.
The Store will operate as a year-round free grocery store allowing people to shop for their basic needs. There is no charge to those referred or to the people and agencies that send them. They may shop for food to supplement their income during times of crisis and as they work toward self-sufficiency.
A philosophy of community empowerment means we aim to solve hunger issues in our community by developing programs to meet the needs of the community, including partnering with other organizations on issues of food security. We believe in cooperation and collaboration between organizations to better serve the community. Over time, we will work with our partner organizations to help provide cooking and nutrition classes.
The Store is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit retail store that will offer a variety of foods that will help individuals strive for healthier lives through food choices, as well as nutritional education and cooking classes. The Store does not, and shall not, discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion (creed), gender, gender expression, age, national origin (ancestry), disability, marital status, sexual orientation or military status, in any of its activities or operations.
We have two funding needs: constructing the actual storefront and establishing enough funding to meet our operational needs for food. Our goal to break ground is $500,000 with a total construction target of $1.6 million. The groundbreaking will be in 2019.
Our two-year operating funding goal is $800,000. Any gift from $10 to $1,000,000 or more is appreciated. Please consider going to our donate button on the Home page and help us build The Store brick by brick. Your gift is tax deductible.
We are pleased to work with Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee and others in providing a variety of products both perishable and nonperishable. We can operate as a free grocery store because of the donations we receive from individuals and corporations. All the food in The Store will follow guidelines set for us by dieticians from Second Harvest Food Bank.
In doing their own shopping, our guests not only have a sense of dignity, but also a higher satisfaction with the food they are able to choose. We will offer donated food, as well as deeply discounted, purchased food from Second Harvest Food Bank and other sources. We are also thrilled to offer a private line of specialty body care products in collaboration with Thistle Farms in Nashville, TN.
The Paisleys partnered with Brad’s alma mater, Belmont University, to establish the location for The Store (convenient to bus routes, and in the heart of Nashville’s bustling 12 South district). It is a location that provides the ultimate melting pot defined by vision, struggle, growth & heart.
The largest architectural firm in Nashville, ESa is donating their services to design The Store. The property being provided by Belmont will be next to the university’s ministry center. In 2018-19, Belmont University will be piloting the Healthcare and Legal Aid Ministry Clinics. These services will allow us to work closely with their clients to meet any food and nutritional needs.
Board of Trustees:
Brad Paisley, President
Megan Zarling, Chair
Pete Fisher, Vice-Chair
Doug Paisley, Secretary
Elaine Bryan, Treasurer
Courtney Vrablik, Executive Director
"At Belmont, we believe that the greatest privilege that anyone can ever have is to be in a position to help and serve another person. Brad and Kim are living out that mission in an extraordinary fashion in every aspect of their lives, particularly through the creation of The Store. We are proud to partner with them on this initiative, and I’m excited to watch as our current students pour their gifts and abilities into supporting the needs of The Store’s patrons."
Dr. Bob Fisher | Belmont University President