A NEW MARKET: Natchez partners opening new market on Canal Street
Published 12:51 pm Monday, June 19, 2023
Jim Anderson’s enthusiasm is contagious.
Talking about the new Canal Street Market he is opening with partners Craig and Patti Sanders, Anderson gleefully shares ideas and inspirations, from grab-and-go meals to hand-cut steaks to bouquets of flowers, just in case.
“You’ve heard of Trader Joe’s? Well, think Trader Jim’s,” he said with a laugh.
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The concept isn’t new to Anderson, who has a lengthy career in food service and hospitality in Natchez.
Anderson was a partner in the original Uptown Grocery, which operated at the same 531 Canal St. location. He also owned a taco truck in downtown Natchez, eventually partnering with Malan Parks at the former 100 Main, where his tacos were the star of the popular Taco Tuesday events. He’s developed a loyal following for his weekly meal prep food service, and he has plenty of experience gained from his years as a chef, server and entrepreneur.
Maybe that’s why revisiting his beloved Uptown Grocery – and bringing it to new life, with a new focus – is so exciting for Anderson.
The opportunity came about unexpectedly. Craig Sanders and Anderson developed a friendship over the years, as Sanders was a customer first at the taco truck downtown then at 100 Main and of the meal prep service.
Sanders’ wife, Patti, is a Realtor in Natchez and both had been interested in developing the Canal Street property into a market to serve tourists and locals. When the property came available, they made an offer – with the hopes of recruiting Anderson to help bring the market to life.
“I sent him a message on Facebook because I noticed he hadn’t ordered from me in three weeks,” Anderson said. “I asked him if everything was OK and he messaged back ‘Can you talk?’ My first thought was, ‘Oh no … ‘”
But once on the phone, Sanders quickly clarified. “He said, ‘Look, remember when I asked you what you plan on doing when 100 Main closes? Well, I did something and maybe I should’ve asked you first, but I’m hoping you’ll be OK with it.’”
And that’s when Sanders said the couple’s desire to bring the market back to life.
“Jim got emotional,” Sanders said.
The couple’s vision was driven by a desire to meet a need they often heard from locals and visitors. “We want to provide a local market that offers fresh, quality food, meats, breads, staples and unique items in a well-known convenient location,” Sanders said.
Anderson said the market will have everything a visitor – or a local – might need, from toiletries to pantry staples, albeit in limited quantities. In addition, the market will feature local produce, hand-cut meats, seafood, gourmet cheeses, wine and beer as well as specialty food products.
“We won’t be a dine-in grocery, but we will have a place for grab-and-go meals,” Anderson said, adding that he plans to offer daily staples as well as a wide variety of inspired specials depending on seasons.
“My goal is to have anything a tourist staying at the hotel next door could want or need, within walking distance,” Anderson said. “At the same time, we’ll have a selection for locals who want to make a nice meal or take home something good to eat without having to cook or prepare a meal.”
Anderson is hard at work alongside a remodeling crew, rebuilding and redesigning the new market building to suit the new vision. He’s working to turn an old barbecue pit into an open cooking spot for teaching classes or offering cooking demonstrations. He’s already developing menus for specials and take-away items. And he’s continually dreaming up ways to be both accessible and exciting.
Both men said they aim to “exceed expectations.”
“We want to go beyond the staples with freshly prepared meals and outstanding service,” Sanders said. “We hope to exceed our expectations and the community’s as well. We are truly blessed and are grateful for all the support and the opportunity.”
Anderson said the market could be open by late July.