Country music star Brad Paisley is opening a grocery store in partnership with his alma mater, Belmont University. It will be called The Store, and it just broke ground for construction and will be completed by the end of this year. It will be in Nashville, and Paisley and his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, told the Associated Press that the idea came out of Santa Barbara, Calif., where the couple volunteered in a similar store called the Unity Shoppe.
The Store will operate like a real grocery store where people can go shopping up and down the aisles and Belmont students and other volunteers will scan their items at a check stand—but no money will change hands. Everything in the store is free.
“Hunger and food insecurity is a real issue in Nashville,” said Williams-Paisley. One in seven people deal with food insecurity. "That means they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. And it’s even worse for kids: 1 in 5 children." The kids, she said, should not know what their parent is going through this, that’s not a stress a child needs. Paisley said this model “takes away the sting of embarrassment for a parent who maybe feels that way because they can’t feed their kid.”
The store will be located on Belmont’s campus and next to the university’s Ministry Center, which will provide healthcare and legal aid ministry clinics. Paisley added that even the mechanical horse for kids on the outside of the store will be free.