Brad Paisley and his wife Kimberly Williams-Paisley are giving back to the Nashville community in the form of a free grocery store.
The couple partnered up with Brad’s alma mater Belmont University to open The Store, a food bank set up like a supermarket to serve both fresh and nonperishable groceries to people in need for one year. They are expected to start building in 2019 if the proper funds are raised.
“This is a grocery store with dignity for people who have fallen on hard times,” Brad, president of The Store’s board of trustees, told the Tennessean. “All of us are one unforeseen disaster away from rock bottom. It’s nice to think about a place where when that happens to someone, they can use it to get back on their feet.”
The country star told the newspaper that they were inspired to start The Store after visiting a similar organization, the Unity Shoppe in Santa Barbara, California, with their kids Huck, 11, and Jasper, 9, last Thanksgiving. The visit was a lesson in humility for the boys, who were acting up, but it turned into something much bigger when Brad and Kimberly liked what the Unity Shoppe was doing.
“I remember … thinking, ‘Why isn’t this everywhere?’” said Brad. “Essentially, we got this idea that it could be a very effective thing in Nashville.” Kimberly added that the space is meant to be a “temporary Band-Aid on the road to self-sufficiency,” she said. “So many people are making great choices in their lives. It’s not like they’ve made major mistakes, they just need a little extra help and we want to be a resource for those people.”
The Store will serve up more than just groceries—during the holiday they plan to set up a toy aisle and will also provide on-the-job training year round.
The couple made an initial donation to kick off their goal of raising $500,000 before breaking ground, and they have a $1.2 million target for total construction. The Store is located at 2005 12th Ave. S. in Nashville.
Visit thestore.org to donate.