Wisconsin native Nick Barbian, 36, moved to Memphis in 2019 after years of living in large, urban cities like Austin and London. He immediately fell in love with the South Main area – the community, walkability, and proximity to the Mississippi River all made the place feel like home to him.

However, one major inconvenience was the constant one-off trips to the Kroger on Union or Cordelia’s Market for a few essential grocery items. He longed for the convenient grocery options he had access to living in the large cities. After talking with his fellow South Main neighbors, he quickly discovered he was not alone in his quest for a walkable grocery store with high-quality, healthy food.

Thus, Big River Market was born. Located on the corner of Tennessee Street and G.E. Patterson in the historic Emerge Memphis building, this 2,200-square-foot boutique grocery store is just what the booming population of South Main needs. And, after being in the works since 2020, it’s finally open to the public.

Although he’s only been in Memphis for a few years, Nick is clearly passionate about his community. “I chose to move to Memphis for the vibe, the culture, and the potential, but the people are really what makes Memphis special,” he explains. “I feel very supported by the community here.”

Big River Market is, essentially, a love letter to the community, with a huge emphasis on supporting local vendors. Raw Girls, Kaye’s Pints & Scoops, Vice & Virtue Coffee, Wolf River Popcorn, and Home Place Pastures are just a fraction of the local product offerings you can find at Big River Market.

The project was also backed by Pathway Lending, a trusted small business lender based in Tennessee. Nick credits the support of Pathway Lending with getting this project off the ground and encourages any Memphis startup with a good idea that will positively impact the community to reach out to the Pathway Lending team.

So, what can a visitor of Big River Market expect to find? Besides a bevy of local business representation, you’ll have access to plenty of vegan and gluten-free staples that can be difficult to find in your average Memphis grocery. You can also expect a large variety of to-go food options such as breakfast tacos and high-end sandwiches. There’s an extensive beer and wine selection available as well.

A quality environment, quality food, and quality ingredients – that’s what you’ll find when you visit Big River Market.

Are you a local vendor interested in seeing your product on the shelves of Big River Market? DM them on Instagram @bigriver_market.

By Lucy Modzelewski