MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. — Alabama Bliss Bistro in Muscle Shoals is going the extra mile during the COVID-19 pandemic. Its new role as pop-up grocery store is easing stress and creating jobs.
As customers fill the restaurant’s parking lot, some are waiting for take-and-bake meals while others are in line for groceries. In addition to food, they’re selling highly desired items like toilet paper, hand soap, and sanitizer. Owner Miranda Ball said this is a brand new concept.
“A lot of people are coming to get our take-and-bake meals because they don’t have the groceries, they don’t want to have to go to the store to buy the groceries,” said Ball. “My Sysco rep, my food supplier rep, came to me last week and said, ‘What would you feel like doing a pop-up grocery store to go with your curbside pick-up and delivery?’” That was Wednesday; by Friday Ball said the increase in orders crashed the restaurant website six times.
She said the restaurant became so busy, she needed to hire more workers. “This took off so quickly that we actually had to hire three people that got furloughed from their other jobs and so we were able to create three jobs to help us get the groceries out.”
Ball spoke highly of small businesses during this time but said she didn’t start the pop-up grocery for financial gain—part of her mission is to help Shoals area mothers.
“You don’t need to take your three toddlers to the store with you but what are you going to do with them while you go and get your supplies—you’re going to drive up to my curb and let me put them in your trunk for you and give you service with a smile,” Ball said.