Marquitrice Mangham, owner of Farmacy Marketplace in Webb, Mississippi, opened the only grocery store in her 12,000-person county in October 2022.
Located centrally on the town’s Main Street, Mangham’s store allows the Delta community access to fresh meat and produce, and local farmers a place to retail their produce. Before she opened Farmacy Marketplace, residents said they routinely traveled 18 to 25 miles to purchase groceries at superstores, like Walmart and SuperValu, in neighboring towns.
Behind the Grocery Store: The Farmacy Marketplace Journey
Mangham’s store functions as more than just a market; it tackles issues of food inequity and insecurity across the Delta. Farmacy Marketplace provides Tallahatchie’s inhabitants with a reliable and accessible source of healthy, unprocessed foods.
Farmacy Marketplace, which operates on IT Retail’s point of sale system, is open seven days a week and accepts multiple forms of payments, including Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT), for those on food benefits.
We sat down with Mangham to discuss her enterprise, and the philosophy upon which she runs her business.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your business, and your path to opening Farmacy Marketplace’s doors.
Mangham: I am a new grocery store owner, originally from Webb, Mississippi — which is in Tallahatchie County. I live in Atlanta, but I opened a grocery store in my hometown community with the help of some really great vendors – like IT Retail – back in October. 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, of course, led me to open Farmacy Marketplace.
Your store is an inspiration to the small business community, and for us at IT Retail, really widens the scope of what our products could help achieve. What are some of the main factors to which you attribute your success?
Mangham: I have no grocery store experience, and very little retail experience. So, for me, the most unique and mentionable thing is the understanding of people in helping to get this store open and going — their willingness to help and volunteer. The community has been really supportive.
For example, in the beginning, our store was learning and working through how to operate our new systems. We have two lanes that we've procured through IT Retail’s POS systems. As we are now, we're able to operate both lanes effectively, as needed. But, initially, we were trying to understand how everything worked: Inputting information, integrating the scale, and many other things presented challenges.
Our community has been really supportive of that, being patient with us as we worked through not just learning curves, but some of the challenges that are faced in rural areas with limited broadband and limited skills in retail.
Running a small business is really daunting, and when that small business is a grocery, the process becomes even more complicated. You’ve done a stellar job creating a full-service, two-lane grocery store and deli in an extremely short period of time. What was the logistical process like for you, setting up the infrastructure for your store?
Mangham: In March of 2021, I was at a grocer’s conference in Las Vegas, searching for point of sale system options. That’s where I met the IT Retail staff. My salesperson was extremely accommodating, and really understood my needs. And since, Rebecca, my customer service manager, has been great. She 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. As my store expanded, she continued assisting me with those changes.
For example, I had a lot of questions regarding adding new products and incorporating discounts, as we’ve 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 us to all the departments that we now have. And Rebecca, as our IT Retail go-to, was responsible for helping us get those features up and running in a timely manner.
My 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 IT Retail’s help.
We are so glad that our product has helped your store achieve its amazing success. Could you tell us more about your experience with IT Retail thus far?
Mangham: It’s been great. Rebecca has really accommodated me being a small business owner, a full time employee, and a mom. I don't have a lot of time, and she’s accommodated my schedule and my training needs.
The software does what we expected it to do, but it also does a lot more. I know there are a lot of features that we haven’t even scratched the surface of. We have a young labor force and operate in a rural area with limited educational opportunities, so IT Retail’s products have been really user-friendly and easy to learn.
We’ve encountered a few challenges – internet issues are common, as we are in a rural area – but the tech support has been very good and really responsive... And we really do thank you for the time and attention that you've dedicated to helping us get the store off the ground and be the success that it's been so far.
If you’re interested in a grocery point of sale solution like Farmacy Marketplace’s, schedule a live software demo with our team!