The Church Avenue storefront that housed Tudor’s Biscuit World for 28 years has a new tenant.
Roanoker Chad Ferguson signed a one-year lease with Louis and Jessica Tudor, who still own the property, with plans to put a grocery store in the well-known downtown location.
Ferguson has spent the past few weeks renovating the space to convert it from a restaurant to what he calls an old-fashioned grocery store. He has put up newspapers over the windows while they renovate, piquing the interest of many people walking past.
For decades the store was home to the breakfast bastion Tudor’s Biscuit World until the owners decided to close in September 2012. Since then, the property has been empty. Louis Tudor said he had a lot of interest in the property, but he was very particular about who he would lease the space to.
“I didn’t want another business selling cigarettes and beer,” he said.
Ferguson, he said, was a longtime Biscuit World customer who grew up in the grocery business. He felt the spot would be successful for a grocer with the right set of skills.
Ferguson has worked for more than eight years in the grocery business, which he learned from his father, who also worked for a grocer. He had been scouting for a good location to bring a traditional store downtown since so many people have moved to the area in the past few years. The specialty for Ferguson’s Grocery, which will be the new name on the front door, will be hand-cut meats and a delivery service.
Ferguson said he grew up when grocers carried bags of groceries out to customers’ cars and made house calls to bring food and medicine. He wants to bring that type of service back to people in the community, especially for the people who live and work downtown and don’t want to drive to a grocery store.
He hopes to open the store around the Thanksgiving holiday and is in the process of hiring employees. Ferguson will work in the store as well.
The downtown area has seen two other grocery stores set up shop in the past year. S&W Market at Sixteen West Marketplace — right across the street from Ferguson’s Grocery — was the first, in October 2012. Roanoke Natural Foods Co-op opened its Market Square outpost in May.
Also in the Retail Roundup column, a new gun store opens up in Stewartsville