Delta town’s only grocery store reopens after backwater flood recedes

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HOLLY BLUFF, Miss (WJTV) – From dried-up farm fields to town businesses seeing their clientele dry up, Delta towns are still feeling the burden of being underwater for seven months.

In Holly Bluff, the town’s only grocery store and cafe was forced to close its doors but now is back open.

The impact on the Delta Backwater Flood cost towns like Holly Bluff their only cafe and grocery store, but after a month and a half being trapped in a food desert, the family is back on the job.

For years Junae Brooks has been the only food outlet in the Holly Bluff area, but when the backwater flood cut off farmers and hunters from coming through town, her livelihood was in trouble.

Governor Phil Bryant met with EPA leaders on installing the Yazoo Backwater Pump Project.

“We were feeling discouraged and felt like we can’t get any help because of the pumps,” Brooks said.

Junae’s Grocery Store in Holly Bluff, MS

What may look like a small shack outside is to many a caring family business local farmers rely on for daily meals and snacks to get through the day.

“They call me and we fix it up and they get it and take it to the field real quick,” Brooks said. “It’s a necessity because other nearest groceries are 30 miles away.”

“We have the workers out in the field and no time to go in for lunch,” Holly Bluff farmer Billy Brown told us. “We’d run by and pick them up and lunch and then continue working. It just works good.”

Costing her shop $50,000 Junae and her family were left mentally exhausted debating to stay closed for good leaving Holly Bluff in a food desert. But the town urged them to give it another shot and she’s grateful to be back on the job.

“We decided to open back up because of our customers were calling and asking to please open back up as they were fixing to get back in the field,” Brooks stated. “And now they’re saying that hunting season should be open so that’s a plus.”

“We buy lunch for the guys three days a week,” Brown said. “Who on the schedule like that and that way she can make plans for what she needs to cook and everything so it works out pretty good.”

The Brooks family tells me they will have their cafe open the first Saturday of October for the Holly Bluff Festival and they encourage everyone to come in as they get back to feeding the community.

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