Running a grocery store in a low-income area comes with some unique challenges, but it also provides an opportunity to play an instrumental role in the community. This is a role that Wettlin Treppendahl Jr., owner of Treppendahl’s Super Foods, takes seriously. The store supports as many churches, schools, sports teams and nonprofits as it can within a 30-mile radius of Woodville, Miss., which is 30 miles from Natchez.
Educating the youth of the area is a key concern.
“People need an education … kids to go off and better themselves and get an education,” Treppendahl says.
To that end, the store offers support to a number of local public and private schools, either through donations or scholarships, or by offering a place to host fundraisers. Treppendahl also plays a personal role by speaking in the schools and encouraging children to “do the right things now,” he notes. “Don’t wait until you get a ticket and start thinking about, ‘Well, I need to start doing the right thing.’ You’ve got to do the right things to start off with.”
It’s not just students that receive a helping hand from Treppendahl’s, however. Adults have also found a second chance at the store. One gentleman “rents” a 600-square-foot space next door to operate a shoeshine business, a skill he learned while in prison.
And sometimes, it’s the small things that can really make a difference in the community. Treppendahl’s donates ice for all functions in Woodville, whether it’s a wedding, a church gathering or a school social.
“We supply the ice for everything,” Treppendahl affirms. “I mean, it’s not a big thing, but it is a big thing. It is one less expense that organizers have to worry about, and it provides plenty of good will within the community.”