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Business of the Month: Market’s owner is ‘Working-N-Faith’

September 13
09:42 2018

By Busta Brown

The Business of the Month is Kingz Downtown Market at 418 N. Liberty St. in downtown Winston-Salem.

I went to Kingz Downtown Market in Winston-Salem to interview the owner, Keith King.  As I walked up to the door, I immediately learned something about King: he’s a man of faith.

Above the entrance are the words, “Working-N-Faith.”

When I opened the door and I saw a customer and her beautiful little girl shopping, I introduced myself and then asked what she likes most about shopping at The Market. “It’s a one-stop shop. I can pay my bills, buy grocery, pretty much everything I need, and the location is very convenient if I have to ride the bus.”

As the mother and daughter continued shopping, Lavese Collins, one of the Downtown Market employees, walked toward them with a warm smile. She kneeled down and gently extended her hand to the little girl. “Hi pretty. Are you having a good day?” she asked. The little girl replies with a soft and sweet little voice. “Yes, I am” and then she smiles. Collins softly responds, “Let me know if you need anything sweetie, OK.”

Every customer that walked into The Market felt the same love I was feeling. It was nice to see a diverse group of people greeting each other and feeling at peace in a place of business.

I saw another employee at the register working her magic, entertaining all six customers that were standing in line. She didn’t miss a beat. I was fortunate to catch up with her to ask how long she’s worked for King. “Awhile and I love it. I love the people that shop here and I love how Mr. King treats us and his customers. He’ll help anyone in need. He’s truly a man of God.”

When I finished talking with the customers and employees, I walked around to check out the product in The Market. The first customer I met was on point when she said they have everything. They have all of your basic needs, and if you don’t want to cook, try some of Cassandra Springs chicken Wings.

“Cassandra’s chicken is the best. People say that every day.” She gave me a sample, and it was delicious! I got an order to go.

The Market provides a variety of goods and services to the downtown area and the residents of Winston-Salem. The Market began with grocery items, but has expanded to a number of other services, including Western Union services, North Carolina Lottery, bill payments (including Duke Energy, Spectrum cable, Piedmont Natural Gas, etc.) and Byte Federal Bitcoin. The Market also carries fresh baked cakes, pies, cookies and other desserts. I was having so much fun with the employees and customers, I nearly forgot I was there to interview the owner, Keith King.

Finally I asked someone to let him know I was there, and in no more than five minutes, The King arrived. I introduced myself, told how I was inspired after learning about his humble beginnings, and what an honor it is to meet him. “I truly appreciate that, Busta. It means a lot.”

King was employed in the fast food industry for 16 years. He began as a cook and eventually progressed to district manager, with responsibility for 12 restaurants. “I left the fast food industry to open my own wing business in Clemmons, North Carolina. I had a strong desire to own a restaurant in downtown Winston-Salem, so I sold the restaurant and began my search for a location. While researching restaurant locations, I noticed the absence of a grocery store in the downtown area. After much prayer and faith in God, I decided to open a grocery store on Liberty Street,” King said.

Kingz Downtown Market opened on Dec. 18, 2007. There were songs of praise, worship, thanksgiving and most of all prayer at the opening of “The Market.” Liberty Street was closed for the opening of The Market. “Mayor Joines, several local politicians and the media were on site to celebrate,” King said. The Market has been very successful, King said. He credits the love and respect they have for their customers. “I tell my employees all the time, you never know what someone is going through when they walk into that door, and you might be the lone person to turn that person’s day around.”

King said he believes in going forward and never backward. “When people come to me and ask for advice, I take that time to talk to them. I believe in paying it forward,” King said.

“We’re half way between a grocery store and a convenience store. We offer all the staples. You can pay your bills, buy a lottery ticket, buy food and then go home and relax because everything is taken care of,” King said. He begin to laugh as he said, “It’s easy to relax when you have food and your bills are paid.”

King said a customer shared that shopping at his store saves her two hours a day. “She said, ‘About the time I ride the bus to the grocery store, shop, and be back on the bus at a certain area, if I miss that bus, that’s another hour. But I can come here, shop and get back on the bus and go home.’”

King said his advice to future business owners is “Be there yourself, take responsibility for your setup. Once you get big enough, then you can step back. I told God if you make me successful, I said the first five years I’ll be here every day. I kept that promise to God, and I know that’s why I’m successful.”

I asked King – who ran for the Northeast Ward council seat in 2016 and lost to incumbent Vivian Burke – if he was going to run for Derwin Montgomery’s seat. The East Ward council member has been appointed to a General Assembly seat. Go to The Chronicle’s YouTube channel @Winstonsalem Chronicle to see his response and more of our interview.

Companies interested in becoming a Business of the Month should apply at https://triadminoritybusinessexpo.com/. This feature is sponsored by the Winston-Salem Branch of the NAACP, Winston-Salem Urban League, Triad Minority Business Expo, Forsyth Technical Community College Small Business Center, Winston-Salem Black Chamber of Commerce and The Chronicle.

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1 Comment

  1. Dbc
    Dbc September 14, 14:54

    Wonderful interview. A truly blessed man.

    Reply to this comment

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