Tootie’s Grocery celebrates Grand Opening

Tootie’s Grocery, a locally owned and operated neighborhood business, celebrated the opening of its retail food store in Mims, Florida, on May 17. Located in an area of Brevard County that is low-income with limited access to supermarkets and grocery stores, Tootie’s offers a range of fresh produce, meats, prepackaged meals, staples, and other foods and beverages – in a location that is walkable for area residents. As a black owned business, Tootie’s takes pride in contributing to the neighborhood's vibrancy and growth through job opportunities, business opportunities and being a beacon of inspiration.

“We’re excited to be part of the East Mims community,” said Aldon Bookhardt, one of the owners of Tootie’s Grocery. “Our goal is to provide a convenient and friendly shopping experience for everyone.”

The buiness is located on Harry T. Moore Avenue. Harry T. and Harriet V. Moore were local civil rights leaders who were dedicated to justice and freedom. The civil rights heroes of the past like the Moores and so many others have paved the way to make this new neighborhood store opening possible. The exterior of the new building includes a mural that honors the history of the family and the East Mims community.

Florida Community Loan Fund provided financing for the construction of Tootie’s Grocery. Learn more about FCLF & Tootie’s Grocery here.

From the owners of Tootie’s Grocery – About the mural

The mural was created by Strokes of Genius Art with the vision of the owner's of Tooties Grocery. The history behind the mural is rich in family history and the East Mims community.

The center portrait of the husband and wife couple is of Edward and Dora Mack. In 1945 they opened Mack's Grocery in Bowman, South Carolina. Mack's Grocery was a neighborhood store in the community that gave minorities the opportunity to buy quality products at a reasonable price. Although Edward Mack transitioned, Mack's Grocery continued to operate by the next generation so in 1950 Edward Mack Jr. returned home to take over ownership of Mack's Grocery and continue his father's dream. Mack's Grocery continued to thrive until it's doors closed in 1957.

The portrait of the young couple is Samuel Bookhardt Jr. and his wife Elizabeth Bookhardt who moved from Bowman, South Carolina to Mims, Florida in 1958. Samuel Jr. was affectionately called Buster and he affectionately called his wife Elizabeth, Tootie. When Samuel and Elizabeth moved to Florida it was always their vision to continue the legacy of operating a neighborhood store that would serve their community. The vision was delayed when the family purchased a home and moved to Titusville where Samuel pursued a career in construction and eventually started the Bookhardt Roofing Company. Bookhardt Roofing evolved into Aldon Bookhardt Roofing, Inc. in 1997.

Next to the young couple's portrait is a portrait of the Bookhardt couple at their 65th wedding anniversary in 2020. As the story goes time passed and other dreams were accomplished so the vision of Samuel and Elizabeth had to open a neighborhood store in Mims only grew until the vision of Tootie's Grocery and the legacy of Edward Mack has now become a reality.

The portrait of the gentlemen in the cap and his wife in the white dress are Elizabeth Bookhardt's parents: Bishop and Mary Etta Mack of Bowman South, Carolina. The portrait of the man in the blue shirt is Samuel Bookhardt, father of Samuel Bookhardt Jr. from Bowman, South Carolina.The oranges and orange trees represent the citrus industry in Mims. Many men and women in Mims earned located here to earn a living growing, picking, packing and shipping citrus. The church building image represents a church established in 1926 on Harry T Moore and Cypress Street in East Mims. The building next to that is the fraternal lodge located on Main Street just East of Harry T. Moore that was once a jewel in the heart of East Mims will be transitioned into affordable rental apartments.

The picture of the aerial view of the Tootie's Grocery with the red pickup truck is a replica of the Bookhardt Roofing company vehicle. The two individuals on the side of that wall are the owners of Paige Drafting Service and Richardson Landscape who worked on the project. The people characters are shoppers and an employee of the store where all people are welcome.

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20 May 2024
Core Purpose FCLF exists to maximize opportunities for people and places outside of the economic mainstream.
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