SHAKER HEIGHTS, Ohio — Food is love. It’s also the glue that has kept the family of Mercedes “Dee” Davis, founder of Black Girls in Trader Joe’s, together for generations.
“Growing up I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my grandmother,” she said. My grandmother fed me to make sure I was healthy and good and show her love…her tradition was always to feed us no matter if we're hungry or not.”
Now, Davis uses food to unite and uplift women. As she explained, she started “Black Girls in Trader Joe’s at the beginning of a pandemic May of 2020, and [gained] 2,000 followers in two days.” Her blog family is a part of a safe space for women empowerment and a space to talk about life, health, injustices, their love for food and the store Davis fell in love with years ago.
She recalls the early 2000s when “[Trader Joe’s] had just opened here in Cleveland, and I was like oh let me go see what it’s about. You know it was close by where I was working. Then, it became a staple.”
Davis says Trader Joe’s has been a staple grocery store to save money, to have a unique customer experience and to find quality and diverse foods. However, it’s also a staple Davis says has not always been seen for people of color.
“I would love to see a Trader Joe’s in a predominately Black neighborhood…that’s been their blind spot and I’ve been very vocal about that,” she said. “There’s a whole community of Black women who should be shopping here as well because we’re the ones that feed our families. We want good food; we want it at a good price.”
As Davis continues to encourage more Black women to take up space and explore different ways to feed their families, she is reminded of her love for food and a passion that blossomed as a young girl with her grandmother.
“Being able to cook these things and share them with the community, with the family of Black Girls in Trader Joe’s it’s like I’m touching people," she said.
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