“More people are requesting it” shares Bobby Singh, 20 year operator of Kilbourn Supermarket, as he stands over the produce section at his store on the northeast corner of 27th and Kilbourn.

For years Near West Side Partners and Business Improvement District #10 has encouraged convenient stores to consider the larger population of patrons who would like to stop by for more staples. It seems that COVID-19 is making the larger selection of produce and other grocer staples a reality for many now.

As the shopping experience has changed and many people are using delivery and pick-up, smaller stores have an advantage of a smaller crowds, easy access and familiarity in the community.

Standing in the 6,000 square foot store you will see a wide variety of people at Mr. Singh store looking for items that are much more diverse in nature than three months ago. Items like can goods, butter and fish are flying off the shelves as Bobby tries to keep up with demand.

However, Kilbourn Supermarket is not only one seeing uptick patrons. A few blocks away at Mo’s Asian Food Market near 24th and Clybourn you will see that the rice isle is not as full with large bags of rice a little harder to get your hands on. In the produce section you will see cabbage, bok choy and shitakie mushrooms not as plentiful as patrons purchase more of these southeast asian staples.

Although Mo’s has limited hours people are getting what they need at the store including many staples such as milk, butter and eggs.

Up the street from Mo’s near 35th and Mt. Vernon, Hometown, a small format gas station is getting requests from local residents for apples, bananas and potatoes. Mandeep is fielding requests from residents on what they would like to see regarding more fresh food and staples in the store.

This positive trend may bold well not just for the businesses owner but for local communities across the City of Milwaukee as people look for safer ways to purchase groceries. And, NWSP will be supporting these businesses and encouraging businesses models that both support the bottomline and local residents desire for fresher, high-quality and healthier food options.

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