Blackboard Grocery & Eatery

February 18th, 2015 by Gwen Green

Blackboard Grocery & Eatery is a restaurant, a grocery, a deli, a beer stop, and a coffee shop all in one convenient location. Daily offerings include pastries from the Fayetteville Pastry Shop, a full coffee bar with Onyx Coffee Lab coffees, fresh breakfast tacos, artisan cheeses, soups, sandwiches, and a daily rotating menu of in-house specialties.

Owner Lycia Shrum worked in a similar store, a “bodega,” in Austin, Texas, and wanted to bring the same feel and theme to Fayetteville.

“Our main focus here at Blackboard is to bring quality foods and drinks with convenience to our customers so they don’t have to drive miles and miles through traffic to get what they want. The entire experience is meant to be a one-stop neighborhood experience where people want to add us to their daily routine,” she said. “Our urban, curated market is here for everyone’s taste desires from morning to late night, from the gourmet specialty items to a delicious and quick-fix breakfast, lunch, or dinner on one’s way down Dickson Street or to the University of Arkansas for the day.”

Opening in December 2014 one block from campus at 644 W. Dickson St., Blackboard has “seen a tremendous reception,” reports Shrum. ”The local people and the Dickson Street business owners are so appreciative of the niche we are filling and have been so welcoming.”

Bill Fox of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center in the university’s Sam M. Walton College of Business assisted Shrum with obtaining financing and other aspects of starting a new business.

“I came to know about the center through my research on SBA online resources. After meeting with Bill, he helped me greatly with setting up a budget for the store, and he obtained valuable market research for me on my target consumers and like products of my store sold in Northwest Arkansas. He also  followed up with me constantly to see how I was doing,” said Shrum. “My loan process took longer than I thought it would, but I had a lot to learn, and Eileen Jennings at Arvest Bank and Bill Fox helped me so much with that process. Bill was my biggest cheerleader of my dream and plans.”

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