Last night, I rode around with a friend in North Tyler looking at potential homes to purchase. My friend has been here all of his life, born and raised, and while riding around he pointed out various landmarks where thriving and vibrant Black owned business once stood but are no longer there. One thing that has fascinated me about this area is its emphasis on owning your own business especially in the Black community.

As Black History Month comes to a close, a piece of East Texas Black History will also be coming to a close unfortunately, this piece of history will be closing for good.

I've never stopped in to Johnson's Grocery which is on Highway 31 in Tyler in route to Kilgore. Normally because I was on the run to Longview for a remote, but I always seen their friendly red white and blue painted building. If I would have known their story I would have stopped in a lot sooner.

Current Owner Palanda Gordon Shared The Story In An Emotional Post

Johnson's Grocery first opened back in 1965 when Sedrick Johnson Sr. started the business "when the odds were against him". Let us not forget that times weren't very kind to African Americans, especially ones who wanted to start a business.

Through The Many Decades, Family Members Kept The Business Going

Google Maps
Google Maps

In the beautiful post written by Gordon, she tells the story of how Mr. Johnson, her grandmother Goldie and their kids ran the business until her father Leroy Johnson, a well respected businessman and mechanic continued the business until he passed away. Gordon and her mother Betty Jean Johnson, continued the businesses legacy until this day where they are now going to close their doors. While we're sad to see them go, we are appreciative for the history and memories.

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