Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

T-Town Market brings convenience to downtown


Debbie Puckett gets to the market at 6:30 a.m. They don’t open until 7 but she makes sure everything’s set up and ready for the day. She leaves at 10 a.m., but in those three hours, she watches as downtown residents and City Hall workers come in and buy coffee, doughnuts, protein bars and even some breakfast sandwiches out of the fridge. 

“It’s new so we get a lot of people just coming in saying ‘Oh this is great, we needed something like this downtown,’” said Puckett, a clerk at T-Town Market. 

T-Town Market opened on May 8 and is currently the only convenience store in the downtown area. Eric Hull, a co-owner of the market and Black Warrior Brewing Company, said they were looking to expand the brewery when they bought the building next door. They ended up using the back half of the building for storage and wanted to do something “fun and different” with the front, he said. 

“We were looking around at ‘What is Tuscaloosa missing in the downtown area?’” Hull said. “There was no place that had your grocery items and convenience items. You really had to go all the way down to Publix to get anything like that. And with all the housing that’s gone up, you’ve got the condos, lofts apartments, three hotels that are relatively new down here, we really just really saw it as a need for the downtown area.” 

Hull said the market has also deepened relationships he and other staffers had with brewery regulars or city hall workers across the street who now like to stop in for a snack. It’s even helped foster new relationships with other downtown residents and workers. 

“We didn’t necessarily have the relationship with the people that work down here in the daytime because the brewery didn’t open until the afternoon,” Hull said. “Especially across the streets at City Hall, we already know a bunch of people in the city just from working with them on other projects, but it’s fun just having them come in here, not work-related, and just having conversations with them. We have a number of people from across there who’ll stop in here every day.” 

One way Hull hopes to take the local connection even further is by having a shelf in the store that’s entirely dedicated to locally made products. 

“We’ve talked to three or four companies right now they’re going to bring stuff in here in the next couple weeks,” he said “It’s just trying to be a good downtown partner and a partner to the city, and things, we wanted to definitely showcase those products that are made here.” 

Hull also said that opening up during the slower summer months is actually helping T-Town Market.

“It’s never a bad thing to open up when it’s slow,” he said. “Just work all those kinks out and find how to do things better so once there is a crowd in here you’re ready for it and just rolling along.”

Another clerk for the market, Dustin Penn, said that a typical customer reaction so far has been excitement that something like T-Town Market finally exists downtown.

“They’ve been waiting for a while and you hear a lot about how downtown really needed this, and then you always get fun people who come over from the brewery and grab snacks or whatever,” Penn said.

Penn, Hull and Puckett all said they use the market to grab a cup of coffee in the morning and sometimes snacks throughout the day. Though Penn said he tries to be careful about it. 

“We do have employee payroll deduction and we have spent a lot of our paychecks in here,” he said. “Most days, you know, you grab a bag of chips or you get thirsty. It’s really hard not to, especially when it’s just you write it down and you don’t have to think about it and then all the sudden it happens later and then it’s like ‘I shouldn’t have had Oreos three days in a row.’”

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