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New Businesses Ease Gordonville/Sherwood Shores/Willis Food Desert:

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Normally I would not write a whole article about a new convenience store or small restaurant. But, the new owners of the Sherwood Foodmart and The Sub Shop are going to great lengths that will help lessen the food desert situation in Gordonville and Sherwood Shores, Texas, and Willis, Oklahoma, on SH 377 on the west side of Lake Texoma.


The Sherwood Foodmart


Kazi Fattah and Sham Sudduha bought the old Sherwood Grocery that was sold as a grocery store eight or so years ago. It changed owners several times and the building began to fall into shambles. Kazi and Sham spent a huge sum of money to bring the old store up to well-constructed and clean standards.


The two entrepreneurs looked at the store years ago. But, this time when it came up for sale, the bank had foreclosed on it after the last owner had failed to make his payments and was charged with operating illegal gambling machines. Sham owns stores in Dallas, and he knew he could turn this store around to something the neighborhood could be proud of.


In the 3 1/2 months that Sham and Kazi spent renovating the old building, they downsized the store square footage and made a larger storage area in the back. They built new walls, added two bathrooms, put in new flooring, AC/heating units, lighting, refrigeration and freezing units, and installed a new parking lot. They repositioned and renovated the kitchen and leased it out. 


Fresh Fruit and Veggies


The absolutely best thing the Sherwood Foodmart sells is fresh vegetables and fruit! They applied for a SNAP permit (food stamps), but it has not come through yet. They sell what is available that can be delivered to the area. Fresh veggies include avocados, bell peppers, carrots, celery, cucumbers, lettuce, and tomatoes, plus onions and potatoes. They also carry apples, bananas, lemons, and oranges. And, there are some packaged meats in the coolers.


This store offers a nice section of fishing supplies including a variety of lures and even a few fishing poles. They carry a large number of supplies for campers, RVers, and renters including cleaning and laundry needs. Plus, there is a selection of apparel and accessories. While the store is set up mainly as a convenience store, it will eventually have an 8-10 unit laundry mat and possibly apartments. They buy their gas from Texaco. Plans for a grand opening is in the works as soon as Texaco installs their signs and they redesign the storefront.


Sherwood Foodmart Kitchen


Faez Areef leases the kitchen. With 32 years of restaurant experience from Sodexo restaurant service at the Toyota corporate headquarters, Applebees, Bennigans, Black Eyed Pea, and Kettle, his menu is extremely tasty. Faez now serves pizza, hamburgers, chicken tenders, sandwiches, croissant sandwiches, and egg and sausage biscuits. For the future, he is building his menu to serve whole breakfasts like bacon, eggs, and biscuits, plus chicken fried steak and fried catfish dinners with accompanying vegetables like fried okra.


The Sub Shop


Thomas Ladieri is a true Italian who is opening a submarine sandwich shop in Sherwood Shores simply called The Sub Shop. He is experiencing issues with the Grayson County Health Department even though he has gone above and beyond what they require. I have seen his applications and the store. Tom has dotted everyone of their I’s and crossed all of their T’s.


The food is amazing! Tom knows his German, Italian, and Texas cuisine. Everything is fresh. Fresh meats include beef, chicken, ham, meatballs, pork loin, salami, and turkey, plus German sausage from Fischer’s in Muenster, Texas.


Tom’s German menu consists of pork loin shnetzel and chicken or pork loin gulasch.


The Italian dinners and sandwiches feature what Tom calls the Parmesans: meatball, chicken, and pork loin. Pasta salads are made with fresh cold cut meats and grilled chicken. Also, he will serve fresh soups of the day and a house salad.


The Texas menu features pulled pork dinners, chicken fried steak with cole slaw and potato salad, chicken wings, and pork loin with sides like mixed veggies.


Tom opens on weekends for events only while waiting on the Grayson County Health Department.


The Willis Foodmart


This store is mainly a convenience store, but it sells fresh roast beef, ham, and turkey, plus American, cheddar, and pepper-jack cheese.


Food Deserts


Every since Harold Mitchell sold his Mitchell’s Grocery Store in Sherwood Shores to convenience store owners, the three communities of Gordonville, Sherwood Shores, and Willis have been literally starving for fresh vegetables and meats. Most people go to Madill or Sherman/Dennison once or twice a month to stock up on food supplies, but forget buying ice cream in the summertime. 


Dollar General made it a little easier to buy quick meals, but their groceries are not in the least bit healthy. I called and emailed the Dollar General corporate office to talk to them about the food desert communities they serve to see if they have any plans to offer healthier food, but they ignored me.


Thanks to the Sherwood Foodmart and The Sub Shop, There is Access to Fresh Food! 


There are many communities in Texomaland that are food deserts. Low-income, disabled, and elderly people are the most seriously affected populations in food deserts. I have seriously craved for a salad or even a fresh tomato between trips to town but had to wait. I used to plant a garden, but now my disability keeps me from being able to maintain one. Another serious problem with obtaining fresh groceries in rural areas is finding vendors who will deliver.


An estimated 23.5 to 29 million Americans live in food deserts. The USDA defines a food desert as an area where at least 500 people live more than a mile from a supermarket. The U.S. was expected to spend $344 billion on obesity-related issues in 2018. (1)


From: Author and Food Activist Mark Winne


Obesity levels in rural food deserts are much higher than in metro areas. Rural areas are traditionally associated with self-reliance and growing gardens and hunting. Up until not too long ago, you would make a trip into town once a month and load up on...50# sacks of flour, beans, coffee, and go back to the homestead where you would be producing most of your food otherwise...That has disappeared. People have lost their food production skills in rural areas in the same way they have lost those skills in urban areas. (2)


Sources


(1) https://www.organicauthority.com/buzz-news/opening-supermarkets-in-food-deserts-improves-health-of-residents-even-if-they-dont-buy-healthier-food


(2) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fC2I12etS4I


 Pictures


1-4 Sherwood Foodmart


5. Tom Ladieri


6. Chicken Wings


7. Soupe du Jour


8. Pork Loin


9. Meatball Parmesan


10. Parmesan Sandwich


 




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