Chris Van Parys, president of W. Lee Flowers, Kj’s/IGA, was elected CFIC’s 19th president at the…
In the heart of the Greensboro’s Lindley Park neighborhood, you will find Bestway Grocery, a seven-aisle grocery store complete with all the essentials and so much more. Originally built in 1947 as an A&P, the store is the city’s longest continuously run grocery store: it operated as a Bestway convenience store for decades until CFIC board member Nancy Kimbrough and her husband Roger purchased the store 13 years ago.
Nancy — a lifelong retailer who spent her career working for The May Company — “decided to part ways with corporate America,” she told the Triad’s Yes! Weekly in an interview. She and Roger began looking for a small retail business and initially took one look at the store and wanted nothing to do with it. Roger persuaded her to set aside her first impression and Nancy looked at it again with fresh eyes. She saw that with a thorough cleaning, remerchandising (the endcap of motor oil had to go!), and adding some personality, the store had potential.
Bestway’s reputation has grown and now they not only serve their local neighborhood, but also customers who come from far and wide for their remarkable beer assortment. In fact, Bestway’s “Wall of Beer” is home to the second largest beer selection in North Carolina with 1,200+ beers! The beers take up the entire side wall of the store and there is an impressive array of beer signs decorating the tops of the coolers. Although the “Wall of Beer” is what Bestway is known for, don’t overlook the wine selection — Roger hand-picks most of it himself. (And the endcap of motor oil is long-gone — it has been remerchandised with wine.)
After 10 years of serving the Lindley Park neighborhood, Nancy and Roger set out to serve a different customer — UNC-G students. UNC-G prohibits the Bestway “Marketplace” store from selling beer and wine since it’s on campus, so they’ve differentiated their campus store with a brick pizza oven, a full-service coffee shop, and freshly made soups, salads, and sandwiches. There has been a learning curve and a unique set of challenges when it comes to operating a store that serves a customer base of almost entirely college students: UNC-G students are mostly gone during the summer, and with full kitchens in the apartments above the store, these students’ eating and shopping habits are different than one might expect – think, crab legs.
When opening the Marketplace store, Nancy dreamed of fresh bread baked for their deli sandwiches. Nancy and Roger met with a professional baker who explained the logistical challenges. They hired the baker and then opened their own wholesale bakery – French Artisan Bread (FAB) Bakery. FAB supplies both Bestway stores, local restaurants, and the local farmers’ market with sourdough, baguettes, and seasonal treats.
Next time you’re in the Greensboro area, make sure to carve out time to peruse the aisles at Bestway Grocery!