Shopping for more than groceries
It was lunchtime Tuesday, and the 4th Street Market & Deli was filled with people. Don Peterson was picking up his meal.
“I like the deli. I’ve been coming here for years,” he said, unwrapping his lunch.
Peterson, who says he goes there three or four times a week, recommends the market to his friends because of its reasonable prices. A few weeks ago, others recommended the market for quite a different reason.
On Jan. 20, 4th Street Market received a Drum Major for Peace Award from the Duluth MLK Celebration Committee. “Drum Major” refers to a speech Martin Luther King Jr. delivered in Atlanta two months before his 1968 assassination, in which he said: “Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”
The MLK Celebration Committee recognizes citizens and organizations of the community who have gone beyond their regular duties to build awareness, speak up for justice, celebrate diversity and work towards building a better future.
“We discuss who is important and why,” committee member Allegra Henderson said of the selection process. “We had a discussion about who has made the most impact on the history of the African-American community, who has created opportunities for African-Americans, and who has shown leadership.”
This year the committee chose to award one individual and one business. Longtime Duluthian Perry Kennedy was honored for his leadership in the community. The 4th Street Market was honored as a business for providing opportunities.
“If someone comes in here looking for a job, we want to give them that chance to work,” owner Tom Potter, adding, “as long as we have an opening.”
Potter and his wife Judy have owned the story since 2010, reopening it after it had been closed for a year. It’s an expansion of their business that also includes a gas station and mini-mart at Sixth Street and Sixth Avenue East. He’s also known for hiring employees from diverse backgrounds.
“It’s good for the com-
munity. I hope it opens up opportunities in other businesses in the Hillside and all over town,” he said. “If people see people from minority (groups) in management positions here, they see that anyone deserves that chance.”
The market’s deli section offers prepared meals as well as fresh fruits and vegetables and even fresh-cut meat and steaks.
“I think that’s a hidden charm of this place. If you’re cooking dinner and find that you need some meat or vegetables, you don’t have to go to a big store to try to find it. We’re right here on the corner,” said Potter.
He also expressed little concern about a business on another corner — the new Super America at Sixth Avenue East and Fourth Street — being a competitor to either of his enterprises.
“I’m not worried about them. We keep our prices very competitive,” Potter said.
Back on Fourth Street, Potter says he feels the market fills a small but necessary niche in the neighborhood.
“A market like ours is a very needed thing in the neighborhood, as we can see by the West End and how they are looking for something like us in that area,” said Potter.