Wendell Pierce (132715)

Noted actor Wendell Pierce, who has appeared in televisions shows like “The Wire” and “Treme” and successful films like “Horrible Bosses,” has become dedicated to fulfilling a need in his hometown of New Orleans. 

After Hurricane Katrina, Pierce realized there were a number of “food deserts” in the city, where residents would have to travel outside of their neighborhoods to access decent supermarkets and food supplies. 

Mother Nature Network reported, “He had no background in the business, but he chose partners and experienced staff who did, and they worked out the financing over a three-month period. ‘I had to convince the banks that it was a viable idea. It didn’t take long.’” The goal, Pierce says, was “to give people the choice of a decent grocery store. People will eat what they have access to, and if it’s only bad choices, they’re going to make bad choices. You need to give them an alternative and make it affordable. Affordable, fresh healthy food—that’s the key.” 

Pierce added, “You can never take customers for granted,” and toward that end, he’s instituted promotions like offering shoppers who spend $50 or more a free ride home with their purchases. “That’s been very popular,” he notes. “You have to earn the people’s trust and loyalty.”

In 2013, Pierce was named one of the “100 Most Creative People in Business” by Forbes because of his efforts and success in launching Sterling Farm Grocery stores. His social awareness, philanthropy and business savvy have obviously not gone unnoticed. The most important resolution out of his vision is that the citizens of post-Katrina New Orleans are able to live healthier lives and obtain fresh foods.