FLORENCE, S.C. (WPDE) — A Florence native is getting closer to achieving his dream of opening a supermarket in Downtown Florence in an effort to give community members a healthier option.
Growing up, Timothy Waters said it was hard to find a place nearby where people could buy fresh fruits and vegetables. Waters described the north, northeast, and west parts of Florence as a food desert and wanted to help.
He felt opening a supermarket would help community members lead healthy lives.
READ MORE: 'I'm 100% sold:' Parents praise Florence 1 Schools Spanish Immersion Program
"You can eat your way to an early death if you are not careful so hopefully we're giving people a healthy option," said Waters.
Waters began this process over 20 years ago and despite numerous setbacks, he was finally able to put his plan into motion.
With the help of the City of Florence and other grants, a new Save-A-Lot Supermarket will soon be joining the fabric of Downtown Florence on North Dargan Street.
However just as things started to look up, the pandemic put Waters’ dream on hold again.
"Once covid came, covid stopped all construction. The workers couldn't work, the project was just a standstill and covid almost destroyed this project," said Waters.
READ MORE: Florence School District 4 set to consolidate with Florence 1 Schools, officials say
Waters said he wasn't going to let this project die. He sees this supermarket as a catalyst for other African Americans to open their own businesses downtown.
"I get emotional when I think about how many African American businesses have been destroyed and here I am trying to rebuild that. It makes me feel proud," said Waters.
He also hopes his story will inspire the youth in the area to show them anything is possible.
"I just want to be able to inspire the next generation and let them know that you can do it. Things can happen if you want to," said Waters.
As for people thinking about opening a business, Waters gave them some words of encouragement.
"Don't let anybody deter you from following your dreams. We are our own worst dream killers. You have to look past that and look where you get inspiration from anywhere," said Waters.
Now that construction is back on track, Waters is projecting his Save-A-Lot Supermarket to open in June of 2021. He said he hopes the Florence community will embrace his dream as much as he has.