Born and raised in Louisville’s Newburg neighborhood, Megan Bell saw firsthand how poverty and underserved environments could negatively impact a community’s health and well-being. She grew up in a family that prepared and served mostly Southern food, which is often a very unhealthy diet. Megan watched as family members and neighbors struggled to access proper nutrition conveniently and suffered from preventable diseases such as high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. Those experiences planted the seed for what would eventually become The Next Door Market Mobile Grocery and Fresh Meals.
Megan Bell’s first venture was as founder and CEO of the nonprofit Virtuous Women of Empowerment. The organization’s mission was “to help build social, health, and economic assets in women and promote them with support and protection they need to develop their full potential.” Women’s resources included literacy, education, and management of personal finances. Megan found the nonprofit work rewarding. However, as the mother of three young children, she began to think of ways to build an inheritance for the family and help her community.
After reading an article about the sudden closing of a grocery store in Louisville, Megan turned to her husband, Brandon, and announced she would open a grocery store. As impulsive as that may seem, Megan spent the next three years studying poverty and food insecurity, local communities, and Black-owned grocery stores. She envisioned a healthier grocery store model, taking inspiration from Louisville’s original Rainbow Blossom Natural Food Markets. In her quest to provide organic foods at affordable prices, Megan also studies business and strives to educate others about the importance of good nutrition.
Megan’s initial focus on implementing her concept was the Russell neighborhood, where she began networking and laying some groundwork for a possible physical location. But as Megan learned more and explored other possibilities, she realized she would have more reach with an online platform. She studied Amazon’s business model of distribution, delivery, and shipping and West Coast food trucks and mobile grocery stores. Megan is very pleased with the flexibility The Next Door Mobile Market provides, “It’s running very well. We were more successful through the pandemic than we were expecting.”
The Next Door Market currently serves the Louisville area and parts of Indiana and Ohio with eventual plans for franchising brick-and-mortar stores. Brandon, her Co-Owner husband, is always looking to take the business to the next level. Their shared background and personal and working relationship help to set The Next Door Market apart. “We come from urban neighborhoods,” says Megan, “The business started local and is friendly and more meaningful. We build relationships with customers and are accessible for a one-on-one conversation.”
Megan has other projects in the works as well. “The Bell Family Cooking Channel” on YouTube features gluten-free, vegan, and healthy recipes. Watch Megan, Brandon, and their three children cooking in the kitchen, along with guest chefs. Megan is also developing For the Love of Food & Family Community Cookbook, including Black chefs, Black-owned catering companies and restaurants, and recipes from Africa and India.
The best way to support The Next Door Market and the communities it serves is to become a customer yourself. Shop their high-quality fresh foods sourced from local farmers and the same distributors as Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market. First-time shoppers are encouraged to try The Next Door Market Bundle Box for $25. The bundles change weekly and offer a sampling of the produce and products available. Ordering through The Next Door Market is an excellent option for those with special diets or caring for an aging family member or neighbor. Be on the lookout for Thanksgiving and Black Friday specials.
Shop The Next Door Market at thenextdoormarketgrocerystore.com,
and follow @nextdoormarket on Facebook
and @nextdoormobilegrocery on Instagram.