OPELIKA, Ala. – A family-owned grocery store in Opelika is gaining national recognition for their customer and community service.
Wright’s Market started as a small convenience store on Pleasant Drive in Opelika back in 1973. Jimmy Wright’s parents were asked to run it until the owner could find a manager. He never did, so Jimmy’s folks stayed on and eventually bought it.
“I worked here when I was a kid. My claim to fame is I still hold the record for being fired more than anyone else,” said Wright.
Jimmy says a lot of their customers early on were employees of nearby mills.
“Those textile workers shopped every Thursday, Friday, Saturday. They supported our business. So very much…we would not have survived had it not been for their support,” said Wright.
Jimmy tries to show his appreciation by listening to his customer’s needs. Transportation is a big problem for some of them. So Jimmy has responded by purchasing a 15 passenger van.
“Customers can call the store and we’ll come to your home and pick you up, bring you back to the store, allow you to shop, and then take you back home. And there’s no charge for that,” said Wright.
Wright’s Market is currently testing a new online shopping service.
“We will actually deliver groceries to your house. You order online. We can deliver to your home,” said Wright. “A lot of people we hear from don’t even have the ability, physical ability, to get out and go to the store. So we see that as another way we can reach our customers.”
Jimmy’s commitment to his customers goes well beyond just what he can offer them through his store.
“Several years ago…just began to hear from a lot of our longtime, older customers about changes in their neighborhoods over in the south part of Opelika,” said Wright.
Jimmy has become actively involved in seeking improvements for those areas.
“We came up with a plan to revitalize two neighborhoods in our community… Carver and Jeter. That plan encompasses housing and a new road, a bike path and sidewalks,” said Wright.
We asked Jimmy what would happen in Wright’s Market was no longer there.
“We’ve had a number of opportunities to move out of this neighborhood before. And we just belong here,” said Wright.
Earlier this year the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recognized Wright’s Market with one of it’s coveted community excellence awards. It has also been named as one of the top 100 small businesses in America.