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Exclusive Q&A: Farmacy Marketplace eliminates food desert

Marquitrice Mangham
Marquitrice Mangham, founder/owner of Farmacy Marketplace

The only grocery store in a rural Mississippi county is serving local residents with a cloud-based POS solution.

Chain Store Age recently spoke with Marquitrice Mangham, founder and owner of Farmacy Marketplace in Webb, Miss. Opened in October 2022, the independent supermarket retailer operates the only grocery store in Tallahatchie County, with a population of about 12,000.

Before Mangham opened Farmacy Marketplace, consumers in Tallahatchie County routinely traveled 18 to 25 miles to purchase groceries. Farmacy Marketplace is open seven days a week and accepts multiple forms of payments, including Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) for customers on food benefits.

[Read more: Grocery non-profit The Hub on the Hill debuts online EBT SNAP program]

What made you decide to open Farmacy Marketplace?
I am a new grocery store owner, originally from Webb, Miss., which is in Tallahatchie County. I live in Atlanta, but I opened a grocery store in my hometown community in October 2022. It's a small town and there's only one grocery store in the county.

I've been going back to my hometown for the past four years, as I inherited my family's farm. I’ve been working on our farm, and it’s one of the major things that helped me understand issues of food equity and food insecurity which led me to open Farmacy Marketplace.

How has deploying a cloud-based POS solution helped you succeed so far?
I had no grocery experience, and very little retail experience. But we have been able to operate two checkout lanes using cloud-based Markt POS systems. Markt technology has been really user-friendly and easy to learn.

Did you face any implementation challenges?
We’ve encountered a few challenges. For example, Internet issues are common, as we are in a rural area, but the tech support has been very good.

Also, inputting information, integrating the scale, and many other things presented challenges. And Farmacy Marketplace has added new products and incorporated discounts, as we have expanded far beyond the services and capabilities we initially thought we were going to have. Most of these expansions are really in response to what the community wants; their support has expanded Farmacy Marketplace to all the departments that we now have.

How did you select the Markt POS solution?
In March 2021, I was at a grocer’s conference in Las Vegas, searching for POS options. That’s where I met the Markt POS staff. They were extremely accommodating, and understood my needs. They helped me distinguish between features of the POS that I would need, and features that, given the size of my store, would probably not be necessary.

Can you share any future plans?
My initial plan was to open just one store for my community, but now I’m getting offers to help start others. If we open other grocery stores in the near future, I am very open to the idea of furthering and expanding my business with the Markt POS platform.

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