Fruitless search leads Jamaican native to open grocery store in Macon

Cobb County resident Lennox Williams said he saw a need in Macon while visiting friends here over the years. The final straw was when the Jamaican native was in search of some green island bananas.

He looked everywhere and couldn’t find them. “I drove all around,” he said.

That wasn’t the first time Williams couldn’t find Caribbean food items he needed to satisfy his taste for home, so he decided to fill the void by opening a store of his own.

D&L International Foods, 2786 Riverside Drive in Macon, opened about two weeks ago. The store offers a variety of Caribbean, African and Hispanic foods.

“I go around (Macon) and see the Caribbean population growing, the African population growing and the Hispanic population growing,” Williams said Tuesday.

He said many of the people from the islands who live in the Macon area travel to Atlanta for Caribbean food products.

“I researched it. I was looking for a place and thought I would bring this to the people so they do not have to travel to Atlanta,” Williams said.

Working for Kroger for about seven years and Jewel Osco Grocery in Chicago for more than a decade, Williams said he learned a lot about the business.

He said response to his store has been positive so far. People noticing the store from the road are stopping in while other customers are coming in through word-of-mouth.

He said his most popular items are the spices, jerk seasoning, cola champagne, ackee and Jamaican yellow yams.

The store also offers fresh produce, including tomatoes, plantains and green bananas. Hard dough bread, Jamaican bun fruit bread, and bulla cakes — staples in most Jamaican households — also are available.

The aroma of Jamaican beef and chicken patties under the heat lamp near the register greet all who enter the store. “It’s a real back home taste,” Williams said.

He also owns and operates a Jamaican restaurant, Old Harbour, in Stone Mountain.

Williams said he’ll continue to make his long commute to Macon to run the store and could move here in the future.

To contact writer Harold Goodridge, call 744-4382.