By: Chelsea Daniels-McGirt
Kingz Downtown Market, located at 418 N. Liberty St. in downtown Winston-Salem, is the ultimate convenience store. With food served within eight minutes, grocery store necessities, and even check cashing; Kingz has everything you need under one roof. This community-oriented gem has been open for 11 years under owner Keith King. Though just a grocery store at first, many Kingz customers began to request hot food as a convenient addition. On the 10-year anniversary, King decided to make it happen, and he couldn’t be happier with his decision.
Working in the foodservice industry has always been a part of King’s lifestyle. Originally from Mount Airy, King started as a fast food cook in his younger years. He later moved on to become a district manager for 12 restaurants in Winston-Salem and Greensboro. One year, during a bad snowstorm, King was directed by his boss in California to open the restaurants at regular business hours. This meant putting his employees on the icy roads at 3:30 a.m. that Monday.
“I couldn’t see putting people’s lives in danger,” King said. “I need[ed] to be in business with myself.”
King went on to open his first restaurant in Clemmons. After selling the restaurant, King moved to his ideal location: downtown Winston-Salem. King felt his services were needed in Winston, and from the bus station to the surrounding hotels, there is an abundance of foot traffic. Having the surrounding public transportation helped King to serve his community conveniently since not all people have access to wifi or bank accounts. In addition to the lottery and check cashing, King’s market also offers patrons the ability to pay their bills to corporations such as Piedmont Gas, Duke Energy and Spectrum.
Let’s not forget the tasty food. Kingz Downtown Market specializes in wings and hot dogs, but also serves chicken sandwiches, smoked beef sausage dogs, macaroni and cheese, potato wedges-just to name a few. Getting customers in and out and fed in less than 10 minutes appeals to all parties.
King prides himself on the relationships he’s made in the community. One of King’s employees introduced an idea they call the ”Blessing Box,” where King leaves goods in a box outside his store that reads: “Take what you need, save some for someone else.” King said that customers also purchase goods from his store just to place in the Blessing Box.
Feeding and giving back is what King does because he feels that poverty can happen to anyone.
“If it wasn’t for the Grace of God, that could be you,” he said. “I care what actually happens to the people.”
The next time you are traveling in the downtown Winston area, drop in and check out Kingz Downtown Market for yourself. King hopes he will be around for many more years to come.
“We want people to feel safe, comfortable, get what they need, and be happy about it,” King said. “We just want to serve the community as much as we can, and live and let live.”