LOUISVILLE, Ky.—Thorntons has officially opened its first not-for-profit community store to benefit Louisville’s West End, the company announced. The store, a collaboration between Thorntons and the Louisville Urban League, will operate as a sustainable not-for-profit venture and offer products from local minority-owned businesses.
“Our commitment is to recruit from this neighborhood, to man our store with people from this neighborhood and continue to use it as a way into the Thornton's system for local people,” Thorntons CEO and President Simon Richards told WDRB-TV.
The store also will act as a community recruitment gateway into the wider Thorntons store network. All profits from sales at this outlet will be reinvested by the Louisville Urban League to promote community equity and empowerment. “Everything that we have done and will do with this project will be for the benefit of this community,” Sadiqa Reynolds, CEO of the Louisville Urban League, told the news source. "What we are doing today, you may not understand it now, but this is monumental."
Georgia’s Sweet Potato Pie Company is one of the local black-owned products featured in the store. “People need to see the people that look like them,” Georgia's owner Dawn Urrutia told WDRB-TV. “They know a person who looks like them has made that product.”
The store will be open seven days a week to serve the community. Thorntons currently operates more than 200 stores in Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee and Florida.
Thorntons shared the news of its non-for-profit community store in October 2020.