Country Star Brad Paisley’s Free Grocery Store Now Under Construction, to Give ‘Dignity’ to the Hungry

April 11, 2019 Updated: April 16, 2019

Nashville country music singer Brad Paisley’s seen his share of success; now the three-time Grammy winner is giving back! Paisley and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, were inspired by a special grocery store that they had visited in Santa Barbara whose goods are entirely free. With 1 in 5 children in Nashville not knowing where their next meal is coming from, the Paisleys decided to help out their hometown with something similar.

They announced the plans to open their own free-food grocery store, dubbed “The Store,” in October 2018. The couple held their official groundbreaking ceremony on April 3rd. Brad posed triumphantly operating a backhoe for a photo to mark the occasion.

President of Belmont University Bob Fisher, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and Brad Paisley break ground for grocery site “The Store” on April 3, 2019, in Nashville, Tennessee. (©Getty Images | Jason Kempin)

The Store will be just like a normal grocery store, except that the food is absolutely 100 percent free. It aims to give dignity to hungry people seeking self-sufficiency. People who are struggling to find food will be referred to the establishment by non-profit and government organizations. Visitors will be allowed to shop for healthy foods free for 1 year.

The couple had modeled the idea after the California store called Unity Shoppe. They brought their two sons, Huck, 12, and Jasper, 10, to visit the non-profit food outlet to teach them about serving others and giving back to the community. The store had made such an impression on the Paisleys that it became the impetus for their own non-profit, free store.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The Store (@thestore_nashville) on

Country artist Brad Paisley breaks ground for grocery site “The Store” on April 3, 2019, in Nashville, Tennessee. (©Getty Images | Jason Kempin)

“We took our boys to Unity Shoppe to teach them about serving others and giving back to people in need,” said Paisley via Belmont University. “And we came away surprised by what the organization had taught us. Most people don’t want handouts. They want dignity and respect. Most people want to become self-sufficient.”

The 46-year-old singer and his wife partnered with Belmont University, where he graduated, and Second Harvest, a local foodbank, whose dieticians would assist the Paisleys in stocking the shelves with perishables and non-perishables.

Kimberly Williams-Paisley and Brad Paisley break ground for grocery site “The Store” on April 3, 2019, in Nashville, Tennessee. (©Getty Images | Jason Kempin)

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The Store (@thestore_nashville) on

The Paisleys also partnered with architectural firm ESa (Earl Swensson Associates), who donated their services to design The Store. And, Brick By Brick Campaign raised funds for construction and operational needs.

“I think it’s gonna be really interesting to see what this looks like when we’re done, not just in building form, but in how it works, and so much of that is going to come down to the fact that we have such a generous partner in Belmont giving us this opportunity that not only will these people be served but they will be served by students, for the most part,” said Paisley at the ceremony.

The Store has set its goal of serving 3,000 people facing food insecurity per year.

“We really want to get people before it’s a major crisis,” Williams-Paisley adds. “We want to help people in this gap where they’re trying to get back on their feet and they just need a little bit of extra help.”

RECOMMENDED
TOP VIDEOS